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Garmin Edge 500 In Depth Review


When the Garmin Edge 500 was first announced earlier this fall at Interbike, the message around its purpose in life was clear: A full featured GPS based cycling computer that’s lean and mean, aimed at keeping a low profile on the bike for high profile races.  Garmin’s made numerous mentions to the fact that much of this cycling computer was based on feedback directly from Team Garmin, the professional cycling team that Garmin sponsors for headliner events like the Tour de France.  While in the past you would see the Edge 705 on their handlebars in races, it was clear that many on the team (as well as many others) wanted a much smaller bike computer.  And thus…the Edge 500.

Like all my reviews, they tend to be pretty in depth (perhaps overly so) – but that’s just my trademark DC Rainmaker way of doing things.  Think of them more like reference guides than quick and easy summaries.  I try and cover every conceivable thing you might do with the device and then poke at it a bit more.  My goal is to leave no stone unturned – both the good and the bad.

Because I want to be transparent about my reviews, as I mentioned when I first got the device – Garmin sent me this Edge 500 for a period of 60 days as a trial unit.  Once that period has elapsed, I send the whole messed up box back to the folks in Kansas.  Simple as that.  Sorta like hiking in wilderness trails – leave only footprints.  If you find my review useful, you can use any of the Clever Training or Amazon links from this page to help support future reviews.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular triathlete out there.  I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background (my day job), and thus I try and be as complete as I can.  But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out.  Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed.

While Garmin Edge 500 is the latest and most advanced GPS cycling computer available, how does it stand up to real world pounding? For that…onto the review…


The unit arrived in a self contained box about the same size as the Garmin Forerunner 310XT box.  Looking at the little device you may wonder why such a big box was required.

Edge 500 Box Shot

Well, once you get it all out on the table, it becomes a bit more clear.  Santa’s elves do a fine job of packing in all the stuff.  I’ve since tried to repack it all back together again…and I’ve failed miserably – when this thing goes back to Garmin, it’s doing so in a grocery bag from Safeway.

Edge 500 Wrapped Components

After removing approximately 26 yards of plastic baggies, I finally got down to the real goods:

Edge 500 Unwrapped Components

If you differentiate out the parts into little groups, they are divided as such:

The power supply group: This group contains a typical USB wall charger, with three different power adapters.  This means you can hop across the pond and still get the Garmin hook-up.  Of course, the bonus to these wall chargers is that you can charge any USB device – such as an iPod, Zune, and even some cell phones.  And you can simply take the USB cable and plug it into your computer as a charging method as well.

Edge 500 Power Adapters In BoxEdge 500 Power Adapters In Box

Next up is the HR monitor strap:  We’ll get into the HR strap a bit more later in the accessories section.  But the key thing to note here is that Garmin decided to include the old-school style HR strap and not the new premium HR strap.  Personally I think this is a bit lame.  Also, keep in mind that if you buy the cheaper edition ($100 cheaper) without a HR strap and cadence/speed sensor – then you won’t have any HR strap in your box.

Edge 500 Heart Rate Strap

The Cadence and Speed sensor group: Many cyclists use cadence (which is how many pedal revolutions you do in a minute) to cycle more efficiently.  For example, you may try and maintain a high cadence to save your legs on longer journeys.  Included within the box is a cadence attachment and wheel sensor that goes on your wheel.  Again, we’ll talk about this in more detail later on in the accessories section.  Do note however that like the HR strap, if you buy the cheaper version of the Edge 500, this won’t be in the box.

Edge 500 Cadence Sensor

The mount stuffs: This massive pile of rubber bands and rubber mounts is how the Edge 500 connects to your bike.  Now – here’s the REALLY cool part – they include TWO bike mounts.  Yes folks – TWO!  One for your big wheels, and one for your little tricycle.  As for the beginnings of a well sized rubber band ball, we’ll talk about that in a second.  Oh, and just be clear, you only use two bands per mount – they give you a lot in case you need to start a rubber band fight.

Edge 500 Mount System

Paper and CD junk: It’s one thing to include a paper manual – that makes sense.  And it’s another thing to include a CD with stuff on it.  That also makes sense.  But what doesn’t make sense is including a CD with no actual software on it (just the PDF manual).  Just a CD of the manual.  Especially given you’ll likely want to download Garmin Training Center (or something) to view the data.  Sure we have Garmin Connect, but given you can’t create workouts with Garmin Connect – you need GTC .  Thus, it strikes me as odd they didn’t include it.  Anyway…

(Update August 2011: Garmin Connect added the ability to create workouts!)

Finally…the goods – the Edge 500: And the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the actual unit itself.  We’ll go into detail on that in a second.

Edge 500 new and untouchedEdge 500 new and untouchedEdge 500 new and untouchedEdge 500 Width

Weight & Size:

By far the biggest draw of the Edge 500 over other Garmin Edge computers is its size.  According to the manual it weights in at just 2oz.

Edge 500 Specifications

But – is that accurate?  Let’s see…time to break out my trusty kitchen scale.

Edge 500 weight on scale

Good news – it’s damn accurate.  Now, it may be hard for most of us to figure out what two ounces actually is.  Turns out, it’s slightly less than a standard ‘Large’ egg.

Egg weight on scale

And just for comparison – what does the Edge 705 weigh in at? (3.85oz…or an egg and a half).

Edge 705 weight on scale

Now how about size?  Well, again – we return to the egg:

Edge 500, an Egg, and Edge 705

How does it compare spatially to the Edge 705?  Here’s a few shots: Edge 500 vs 705 size

Edge 500 vs 705 size

And then what if you stack them up against all the other current Garmins out there?  Well, it’s not as small when you stick it next to the Forerunner 310XT – in fact, it’s actually a hair bit larger.

Edge 500 vs 310XT Size Edge 705, 500, 310XT, 305, 405 Comparison ShotEdge 705, 500, 310XT, 305, 405 Comparison Shot

(Above, left to right – Edge 705, Edge 500, Garmin 310XT, Garmin 305, Garmin 405)

And finally – what about size compared to a standard cheap old $25 bike computer from your nearby bike store?

Comparison between Edge 500 and Bike Computer Comparison between Edge 500 and Bike Computer

So, from a size perspective, it pretty much delivers on the super small form factor.  Though, it’s really not much different than the 310XT when you remove the wrist strap (as you would using the quick release kit for a bike).

Connecting it to your bike:

When you empty out the contents of your Edge 500 box, the most striking thing will be that a small army of rubber bands will come parading out towards you.  The potential to start shooting them at your significant other is high – but that’s not actually the purpose for them.

See, the new Edge 500 uses a quick release quarter-turn mount system – similar to the Garmin 310XT in fact.  The exception is that instead of using zip-ties to connect it to your bike, you instead use two industrial strength rubber bands.  I believe the goal here is two fold – one being that there were some complaints that the old Edge 705 mount system was prone to having the computer pop-off mid-ride, so by using rubber bands you afford the system a bit of flex.  Secondly, using rubber bands means it takes about 5 seconds to transfer it to a different bike.  Which is kinda cool.  Especially when you consider that many folks buying the Edge 500 probably have a small flotilla of bikes.  I was curious though as to why Garmin made the switch, and here’s what they had to say:

“The design engineers determined that the quarter-turn mount was easier to engage and had less parts than the older Edge mount.  This meant that there were less items to potentially have problems.  The band method allows a user to switch the mounts between bicycles if necessary as they would not have to clip the zip ties.  So these items contributed to using a new mount system.”

So, back to the rubber bands…you get 14 of them, in two sizes – small and large.  I found the small ones work best on most handlebars, whereas the larger ones work best on places like stems and even the bike frame itself.

Edge 500 Mount System

Then you’ve got the two mounts themselves.  The mounts are simply plastic and a removable rubber backing that’s designed to form to the bar it’s attached to.

Edge 500 Mount System Close Up

As noted the mounts use a quarter-turn system to remove the device.  This means there’s no more popping off if you hit a big pot hole (or go mountain biking).  This is the same mount system used within the Garmin Forerunner 310XT system – though it seems that they loosened the resistance a touch to make it cleaner to pop-off.

Edge 500 using 310XT Mount System

(The Edge 500 mount parts are on your left, the 310XT quick release kits are on your right).

Here’s a super-short video I put together showing you how it clips in and out:

And, the really cool thing is that these mounts are fully interchangeable with the 310XT.  So if you already have one of those on your bike, you can easily swap this into that spot.  Or – interestingly, you can actually use the Garmin Forerunner 310XT quick release strap to run with the thing.  Though, it won’t display pace as ‘Minutes/Mile’, but rather MPH/KPM.  So not entirely ideal – but functional in a pinch if you’re primarily a cyclist and want to simply run every once in a while with it.

Edge 500 using 310XT Mount System (Above, using the Garmin 310XT quick release kit with the Edge 500)

As I mentioned earlier – one last cool thing is you get TWO bike mounts in the package.  So you can arm two of your bikes right out of the box.

Let’s get them hooked onto some bikes.  First up – the road bike…

Road bike:
In this case I first used the main handlebar area, and used two smaller rubber bands to hook it on:

Edge 500 mount system on road bike Edge 500 mount system on road bike Edge 500 mount system on road bike Edge 500 mount system on road bike

I then decided to try the stem as well:

Edge 500 mount system on road bike stem

No issues in either location.

Triathlon Bike:
Next up was my tri bike.  First was the obvious stem location – pretty cut and dry:

Edge 500 mount system on triathlon bike

Then I tried up on the aero bars.   Of course, the primary issues with this is that usually you have some sort of aero bottle there for hydration:

Edge 500 mount system on triathlon bike aerobars

I then stuck it off on the main handlebars, off to the side:

Edge 500 mount system on triathlon bike bars

And finally, for fun – I placed it down on the frame itself:

Edge 500 mount system on triathlon bike top tube

Mountain Bike:
Last up was my trusty mountain bike.  It (the bike) may not be pretty – but it’s functional.  I first put it up on the handlebars trying to use the small bands, but ultimately decided on the larger bands:

Edge 500 mount system on mountain bike Edge 500 mount system on mountain bike

This worked pretty well, and without any issues – so I simply left it there.

As you can see, the mount system is much improved over past systems – though I do hold judgment on the whole rubber band thing long term.  I’m curious how they will hold up to constant pounding and weather such as dry heat.  The other bit of good news here is that I’ve found it works basically just fine with just a single band – so if you lose it mid-ride, you aren’t hosed (kinda like modern jetliners, they can still fly on one engine).  Also, they give you a crap-ton of them.  So you don’t have to pay some absurd price that many companies charge you for tiny parts.  But if you do manage to lose them all, a whole bag of 14 of them is only about $10 – including two extra mounts.

Functionality and Features:

GPS Performance:

Given that most folks are familiar with GPS-based sports devices and how they work, I’ll keep this section quick and simple.  The Edge 500 has a tiny GPS receiver in it which allows it to both display location information, as well as record information about where you’ve been.  This enables it to determine things like speed and distance without any additional hardware required (such as a speed sensor on the wheel).

Once you’ve done an activity it can produce pretty cool maps, such as the below:

Edge 500 in Nebraska

One interesting new feature of the Edge 500 is its improved GPS receiver which allows for quicker acquisition (I’ve found it picks up in half the time of the Edge 705, which I thought was already pretty darn quick) – but it also uses new and improved software logic to remember last known locations and satellite fixes – further increasing the speed of readiness.

Edge 500 GPS Status Edge 500 GPS Accuracy


One pretty cool feature that I used a fair bit this past fall on the Edge 705 (a cousin to the Edge 500) is the ‘Course’ functionality.  This feature allows you to pre-create a course (kinda like a map, but with details like elevation in it), and then download it to your Edge 500 for ‘riding’.  When you ride the course it will tell you if you’re off course, as well as the upcoming terrain.

Edge 500 Courses Edge 500 Courses Riding

Finally, it will also tell you how far until the end of the course.  I’ve used this function on some pretty long rides at about 120 miles, and it works fairly well once you get the hang of it.  The reason it’s slightly different than your average car GPS is that it uses a breadcrumb type trail system of little points, and you’re simply connecting the dots.  So unlike the Edge 705, it won’t tell you ‘Turn right on Main Street’, but it will show you a map, compass and direction of travel.

Edge 500 Courses On Screen Navigation

Barometric Altimeter (Elevation sensor):

If you’ve ever used any of the Forerunner series of watches (305/310/405/etc…) you’ve probably wondered why the elevation data is always a bit questionable.  That’s because that series of watches uses GPS to determine elevation – which is not a true altimeter based on barometric pressure.  While GPS-based altimeters used in aviation and military applications are far more accurate – those used in consumer applications tend to be sketchy.

The good news here is that the Edge 500 (like the Edge 705) uses a barometric altimeter instead, so the elevation readings are generally very very accurate.  This data is recorded within every track (activity), and presented in virtually all sports applications out there:

Edge 500 Elevation Graph

(A screenshot in Garmin Connect – now interestingly in the above, it took the device a bit of time to adjust to the correct elevation, as you’ll note that it shows me at 120 below sea level.  I’m actually at about 60-80ft above sea level.  You can see the barometric altimeter in effect adjusting to the outside barometric pressure – hence the change in altitude.)

A new feature added is the ability to set known altitude location points.  For example, if I knew the altitude of my house, I could set a elevation point for this coordinate, which the Edge 500 can use as a basis for determining other elevations.

Edge 500 Elevation Correction Waypoint

One tiny word of warning…the little holes on the back of the device are critical to accurate elevation data.  If those get clogged, covered or otherwise having airflow blocked, elevation data will be skewed.  I learned this lesson when I tried to reduce the volume level of the alerts on the Edge 705 this past fall via electrical tape, and the elevation data came out all whacky.

Edge 500 little holes that you don't want to block

Thermometer (Temperature sensor):

One feature not previously found on either the Edge or Forerunner lines but now present in the Edge 500 is its thermometer.  You can add the temperature data field to display the outside temperature.  Now, in the manual it warns you that this thermometer isn’t like the instant-read ones you stick in your turkey to check if it’s done.

Edge 500 Temperature Manual

This one contemplates life a bit while adjusting to temperature.  When I first took it outside mountain biking I noticed that it never really got to the correct temperature (just above freezing) and that it took a heck of a long time to settle down.  So I mentally marked this to do a bit more testing a few days later when I was in a blizzard in Nebraska.  What better place to check how it handles extreme temps?  My first test was simply leaving it outside while I went and did some errands at a store for about 20 minutes.  When I came back outside the device was reporting about 10*F higher than the car’s temperature sensor (the edge was reporting 22*F, versus the real 12*F).

So a day later I went out for a run I took the Edge 500 along for the journey and then eventually left it hanging outside along the route for about 30 minutes by itself.  The outside temperature was well established at about between 0 and 5*F – just on the outside edge of the Edge 500’s documented range of 5*F-140*F.

At these temperatures the watch was pretty slow to react to much of anything – and the temperature still wasn’t right.  It was still showing about 10*F too warm.  Perhaps though I was pushing it a bit too much.

Edge 500 Temperature in sub-freezing

After returning back to weather above 5*F (Washington DC), I continued to see how the thermometer would react.  And time and time again I found it takes about 10-12 minutes for things to settle out, depending on the temperature outside.  Though I did find the temperatures still seemed a bit high in almost all cases (night or day).

So the manual is correct – it takes a bit of time.  But I think that’s fine since once you get outside the fluctuations are minimal.  Now the bigger issue here might be that I can’t seemingly depend on it since it never seems accurate.

Of course, the counterpoint to that is ‘So what?’.  Meaning – does having a temperature reading EVER have any effect on my workout once I’ve started it?  Sure knowing the weather is great prior to the workout – but once I’m on the bike either I’m hot, cold or good.  I don’t need a computer to tell me that.

Oh – as for recording temperature data – here’s what it looks like:

Edge 500 Temperature GraphYou’ll notice the slow drop in temperature over the first 10-15 minutes, and then it evens out.  Same with another one that’s a bit shorter to show the drops in temp:

Edge 500 Temperature Graph Again, none of this is a huge deal in my mind as temperature recording to me simply falls in the category of “Oh…interesting.”

Data Field Setup:

When you setup the Edge 500 you have a number of options as to how many data fields you’d like to display, ranging from 1 to 8:

Edge 500 Data FieldsYou can display up to three pages of data, with each page containing up to 8 data fields.  The less data fields, the larger each field (in visual size).

Edge 500 Data Pages Edge 500 Data Pages Edge 500 Data Fields Settings Power Zones

When on the bike you can scroll through the three pages by simply pressing the lower left hand button.  Alternatively, you can setup ‘Auto Scroll’ to automatically scroll through the pages for you:

Edge 500 Auto Scroll

Screen Readability:

This was one area where I’m not terribly impressed.  I’ve tried it out in all different light types and depending on the angle of the sun and the screen it can be difficult to view because of the plastic surface reflecting back at you.  The Edge 500 seems to have a different finish on it compared to other Garmin fitness devices, sorta a shiny finish.  For example, see the following shot for what I’m talking about (note, that normally this is a camera issue that you can get rid of with a circular polarizer filter – but in this case, this was exactly what my eyes were also seeing…me):

Edge 500 Glare Issues

Now, it’s possible this may be because of the low-track of the sun in the winter (when I’m testing it out), but I haven’t seen this is any of the other Garmin’s.  To be fair when you’re seated on your bike, it’s not that hard to read.  But, I found if I stood up or shifted front/back much then it goes out of the visible zone to the reflective zone.

Though for better or worse, when it’s cloudy or even rainy out – it’s MUCH easier to read.

Edge 500 in the rain

Start Notice (automatic warning system):

Have you ever started a run or ride and then realize you forgot to start your timer?  Or perhaps you stopped at a light and then forgot to resume (record) again until 28 miles down the road.  Well, this thing is here to save you.  It automatically displays a warning message if you’re moving…and the Garmin isn’t started.  And it even works indoors too on a trainer as long as you have the wheel sensor configured.

Edge 500 Movement Detection

You can configure the warning message settings as well:

Edge 500 Start Notice OptionEdge 500 Start Notice Option Repeat

This is perhaps my favorite new feature on the Edge 500.  But by the same token, it’s also the one feature I’ve found doesn’t work consistently.  I’ve seen on multiple occasions where it won’t warn me the unit isn’t recording.  For example just on Sunday during the ride home from a 10K running race – I had stopped briefly to snap a few photos of the water droplets.  When I started again I thought I had resumed the timer, but apparently not.  I never received a warning message.  You can see the massive gap in the track below between the two blue circles:

Edge 500 Start Notice Failure

I’m hoping that some of these bugs will get worked out in future firmware revisions – as this feature is super-cool and has huge promise.  I’m also really hoping to see it added to the Forerunner series and other Edge devices.

Auto Lap:

This feature automatically records a lap in the activity based on a set distance.  By default the Edge 500 is configured to record a lap every 1 mile.  Laps are useful when trying to view data for certain sets of times or distances.  For example if you hammered for 1 mile, and then went easy for 1 mile, etc…  In this case, the Edge 500 would automatically beep and mark each lap both on the GPS and in the recorded file as well.

You can change the distance for the auto lap feature in the menu system pretty easily:

Edge 500 Auto Lap Options Edge 500 Auto Lap Options Edge 500 Auto Lap Options Distance

Laps then show up in almost all sports applications, including Garmin Connect:

Edge 500 Laps on Garmin Connect

Personally I prefer to leave this off as I find I like to manually set the laps myself by simply pressing the lap button.  These then better correspond to my actual workout.  Also, keep in mind that software applications like Sports Tracks allow you to overlay virtual laps on top of any file.  So for example I can tell it to simply overlay a lap every half a mile, and then change it and show it every quarter mile:

Edge 500 Lap Markers in Sports Tracks Edge 500 Lap Markers in Sports Tracks

By doing it this way I don’t have a bunch of random laps recorded that I don’t know why I recorded them later on.

Auto Pause:

Auto pause is a pretty cool feature if you’re doing a lot of city riding where you frequently stop and start.  What it does is automatically pause your recording activity when you stop, and then resume it when you start moving again.  This is done by utilizing the GPS (or speed sensor depending on configuration) to determine if you’re actually going anywhere.  When you stop, it pauses the timer:

Edge 500 Auto Pause

And then when you resume again, it automatically starts the timer again.  This ensures that your recorded data track doesn’t get skewed by all the stop and starts.  Do note however that for some applications you don’t want this enabled as it will incorrectly skew data results.  For example, when utilizing a power meter you’ll want to disable this because it will skew data results for TSS and Mean-Maximal data curves, such as those shown in WKO+ or Training Peaks.  Below is an example of a mean-maximal data curve on Training Peaks:

Edge 500 Training Peaks Mean Max Power

Water Resistance:

Unlike the Forerunner series, the Edge 500 (like the Edge 705) is not exactly waterproof from the standpoint of submerging it.  But it is waterproof from the perspective of rain.

Edge 500 Water Resistance Edge 500 Water Resistance Edge 500 in a downpour

The key weak point in the design is the USB port on the back with a small rubber cover.

Edge 500 USB Port CoverEdge 500 USB Port Cover

Now, interestingly the device is actually certified to IPX7 – which does mean full submersion for a specified period of time.  In reality, I’m not sure I’d trust that.

Edge 500 IPX Water Resistance

Edge 500 IPX Water Resistance

There have been reports in the past with the Edge 705, waterproofing and its similar design.  The design for the Edge 500 is basically identical.  I personally managed to kill my Edge 705 when gel got into the USB port during a race, and while Garmin quickly and easily replaced it (through normal warranty repair), I was hoping to see a change here.  I asked them why they stuck with this design instead of moving to a weather/water sealed 310XT design, and here’s the answer:

Rainmaker: “With respect to the USB port, why choose a liquid-susceptible connection (USB port) instead of just using ANT+ and a USB stick like the 310XT and 405?”

Garmin Engineers: “The ANT+ method seems to work better for watch type of devices that the user would continue to wear as they go back to their computer.  The Edge bike computers do not have the same scenario as you would generally not bring the bike itself into close proximity to the computer.   So the mass storage system seemed a better method for holding the larger files that could be generated from a cycling product.”


The Edge 500 uses an LED backlight to illuminate the screen in darkness.  You can adjust both the contrast as well as the brightness using a simple menu system.  The Edge 500 is pretty bright by itself, though not quite as bright as the Edge 705:

Edge 500 Night Light with Edge 705 Edge 500 Night Light

You also have a few options for how long the backlight stays on when you press the light button.

Edge 500 Backlight Settings

You can either set a specified time to remain on when you press the button, or you can just keep it on.  I prefer to simply keep it on because then I’m not fumbling around trying to turn it on over and over again.  The light uses a slightly different hue backlight than the Forerunner 305, instead matching the 310XT and 405 – so it’s a cleaner light that’s easier to read.  A nice improvement there.

I also prefer to keep the backlight on when I’m indoors on a trainer, as then it makes the LCD screen really crystal clear to read.


Functionality that’s missing:

Frequent users of any of the either Edge or Forerunner series will notice a few things that are missing from the Edge 500:

– No Virtual Partner: This feature normally helps you pace against a little virtual partner to try and keep a more consistent pace in training or racing.  I can see how given the device is primarily targeted at the cycling crowd and how you’d probably uses the virtual partner less there than in running.

– Ability to configure power zones on the unit itself (must be done via software): This feature allows you to set alerts if you fall below or exceed certain pre-specified zones or ranges for heart rate and power.  However unlike the other units, you cannot set power or HR zones on the unit itself.

– Cannot utilize “Workouts”: This fairly common feature allows you to download workouts to your device and then combined with alerts it will basically walk you through a workout or race.  I use this during races to help pace my by HR’s.  For example, in the bike segment of a half-Ironman I usually have certain HR range for different sections.  Not having this in the watch is a pretty significant loss for many folks.  What’s even stranger here is that Garmin spent the time to update Garmin Training Center (GTC) to allow you to specify power alerts in workouts just two weeks ago on December 2nd.  Given they almost never bother updating GTC (it’s old and crunchy) it’s strange to include this but not have workouts. [Update: This feature has been added as of February 23rd, 2010]

I asked Garmin to comment on a few of these as to why they were left out, and here’s what they had to say:

Virtual Partner Functionality (VP):

Garmin: “The VP works well with a course.  Most riding does not use a steady state like the VP was designed [for] (except maybe TT’s).  So that is the main reason why the VP is not in the device.   It was designed to be a simpler device so this also reduces the page count.”

Rainmaker: And in this case, I generally agree with them here.  While I’m all about features and functionality, I’d much rather them focus their development efforts on other areas that need attention than this.  I’ve never used the VP feature in normal day to day or race situations for the bike (I have used it on the run however in the watches where it’s very useful.  Just the simple reality that for most bike races except TT’s (like a triathlon) you’re racing against other people at the same time, instead of against the clock – so pacing via the VP isn’t really useful.

Workouts (missing feature):

Garmin: “This feature is planned for Q1 next year [2010] as a firmware update.”

Rainmaker: Simple enough answer I think. 🙂  [Update: This feature has been added as of February 23rd, 2010]

Riding it on a trainer:

In addition to riding it outside, you can also ride it indoors with the GPS turned off.  When combined with the cadence/speed sensor (detailed later on), you’ve got a full indoor trainer setup:

Edge 500 on a trainer

On the fly change of paired ANT+ accessories

One brief little change I want to point out because I think it’s cool is the ability to manually modify the paired accessories.  This can be an issue if for some reason you need to re-pair your HRM strap or cadence sensor at the start of a race – where you’re in close proximity to everyone else.  The new menu system allows you to manually modify the paired ID number if you know it, kinda a neat touch.

I suspect this issue manifested itself with Team Garmin and the team car, and being able to quickly re-pair power meters and sensors on a slew of closely located bikes without having to manually go through the entire pairing process.  You can do this for HR, Cadence/Speed, and Power Meters.

Edge 500 Sensor Status Connected

Integration with Power Meter Devices:

Like the Edge 705 – one of the key draws for the cycling crowd is the power meter compatibility with ANT+ power meters.  It’s one thing to simply record power data, but it turns out there’s quite a bit more to it than you might expect and having some additional features makes the difference between a ‘functional’ system and a truly usable one.

Edge 500 with Power Meter

Here’s what the Edge 500 has with respect to power functionality:

One second recording (1s):  This is absolutely critical to correct interpretation of power data for analysis afterwards.  What this does is record a power point every second instead of using any of the Smart Recording options.  The Edge 500 automatically turns on 1-second recording when a power meter is connected.  But it goes a step further – you can’t change it back to smart recording when a power meter is attached.  So in this respect, it functions just like the 310XT where it keeps you from getting incorrect data for calculations like normalized power.

Zero Averaging options: This option allows you to either include or exclude ‘zeros’ from averages.  Say for example you’re coasting down a large hill that’s 5 miles long (like…Skyline Drive), in this case you could theoretically not pedal a single stroke and make it all the way down.  In doing so your power output for that section would be zero (0).  So if you exerted an average 200w going uphill, and then 0w going downhill, the average would be somewhere under 200w (depending on factors such as length of climb/descent, etc…).  But, with zero averaging off the average would be 200w, because the 0w values would be ‘thrown out’.  Now – while this may sound great from the standpoint of making your numbers look good – it’s actually really bad from the power analysis standpoint.  So leave these options off to ensure you have consistent and usable data.

Do note that one difference here between the Edge 500 and the Edge 705 is that on the Edge 500 you can individually turn off both cadence zero averaging and power zero averaging – whereas on the Edge 705, it’s all or nothing for both.  Further, on the Forerunner 310XT, you don’t have such an option at all.

Edge 500 with Zero Averaging

Calibration of power meters: Within the user interface you can calibrate the power meter using the calibrate button.  In my case, I have a Quarq Cinqo (now discontinued) – so for me the easiest way to calibrate is to simply spin backwards a few rotations and I’m good to go.  But for some power meters the process is a bit more involved.  I tried to get a hold of a PowerTap demo wheel/unit from Saris to show how this works in real life, but they weren’t entirely interested…so you’ll have to go it on your own there.

Edge 500 Power Meter Configuration

3 second and 30 second display averaging: In my little mind, this is probably the most important function to be able to effectively use a power meter while riding the bike.  The reason being that when you’re cycling the actual power output fluctuates quite a bit.  One second it will show 202w, and the next it might show 185w, and the next it will show 220w, this is all due to a variety of factors and is entirely normal.  What display averaging does is to ‘even it all out’ on the display so you can figure out how you’re actually doing.  This was introduced back in August for the Edge 705, and was carried over to the Edge 500.  Note that this does NOT affect the recorded data, which is still done at the 1-second interval.

On Garmin Connect, they support a very basic and rudimentary power data output that you can use to quickly look at your overall power profile.  However, most serious cyclists will choose to use some other software application to do in depth analysis.  Check out the software section above for more details on applications out there.  Below is a screen capture from Garmin Connect for a single ride.

Edge 500 Power Meter Display

Finally, one little tidbit I’d like to point you in the direction of is this cool page put together that covers many different detail type items with respect to Garmin’s fitness line and using them with power meters.

Connecting and downloading data:

Once you’re all done riding it, it’s time to get the data onto your computer.  The first step here is simply hooking it up to your computer via a standard USB cable:

Edge 500 Downloading Data Edge 500 Downloading Data via USB

After which, you’ll be shown a disk drive that’s labeled Garmin, making it almost identical to plugging in a little USB thumb drive.

Edge 500 USB Windows Insert Message



Edge 500 USB Windows Drive

Now, here comes the part that shouldn’t matter to most of the population – as you’ll use Garmin Connect or another software application to get the files off (see next section).  Once you’ve plugged in the unit, you’re good to go with surfing to Garmin Connect.

But…for those of you that are technically curious – here’s the scoop on the file structure on the drive.


Edge 500 Folder Structure

On the storage unit itself, the folder you really care about is the activities one.  This one contains a .FIT file for each and every activity.

Edge 500 FIT File Folder Structure

However…here’s where the goodness kinda stops.  Unlike past versions, the Edge 500 doesn’t use TCX files.  Instead it uses it’s native .FIT file format, which is an encapsulated file that’s not readable with anything like Notepad, as here’s what you get:

Edge 500 FIT File

I asked Garmin why they changed over to the .FIT files from the TCX files, and here’s what they had to say:

“The reason was that the .Fit is a more flexible system that allows us to add or remove addition data items in a simple manner.  The Edge 500 is a mass storage device so there is no intermediary to do the conversion.  If you did it on the device you would end up writing both .fit and tcx which would balloon the space requirements.   .Fit is smaller and easier to transfer to GC also.  The 310XT does not do the conversion.  Garmin Ant Agent is converting the .fit from the 310XT to a tcx format so there would be some existing compatibility with third parties.  We like the .fit format and hope more third parties will start processing this format.”

To further prove why the TCX format isn’t the wave of the future, I had asked a question about why when you export from Garmin Connect to TCX, you don’t get the temperature data points:

“This is a limitation of the TCX schema.  There was no tag for temperature since we did not have it before.  So to add it would mean extending the schema.  This is the advantage of .fit.  When new data is added the system can handle it.  With TCX there would need to be extensions added every time we wanted to change the data.”

I understand where they are going here, and other companies appear to be following them.  Training Peaks (which runs the TrainingPeaks.com site and the WKO+ software) are already working to offer .FIT file format compatibility.  Now, to be clear, you can still export back to TCX format – which we’ll talk about in a second – in the event you have an application that needs it.

But for native access you’ll have to use an application that can read the .FIT, which takes advantage of Garmin’s Software Development Kit to do so.


Ok, now we’ve got the thing all plugged in, let’s get on with uploading the workouts…

Software options:

Garmin Connect:

Garmin Connect (GC) is Garmin’s free online activity management site.  Introduced around the same time as the Forerunner 405, it’s the successor to the old Motion Based site, and it aims to be the one-stop-shop for anything Garmin.

After connecting your Edge 500 to your computer, you can quickly and easily upload all new activities into the system:

Edge 500 Upload to Garmin ConnectEdge 500 Upload to Garmin Connect

Once you’ve put them in GC you have a ton of options for viewing the data.  For example, you can look at your activity view to see which activities you may want to drill down into:

Edge 500 Garmin Connect Activities Calendar

After you’ve selected an exact activity, you’re given this overview:

Edge 500 Garmin Connect Mapping

From there you can utilize the tabs along the bottom to change to different areas of interest – such as elevation, Heart Rate, Power or Cadence – as well as temperature, which is new to the Edge 500.

Edge 500 Garmin Connect Elevation Chart Edge 500 Garmin Connect Heart Rate Chart

It’s on this main activity page that you’ll also see the option to export out a TCX file – which can be imported into other legacy programs:

Edge 500 Garmin Connect Export Data

One cool new feature just added earlier today is the ability to now see your routes in Google earth 3D mode – directly within the browser window.  Here’s a ride I did past the Jefferson Memorial this weekend:

Edge 500 Garmin Connect Google Earth 3D

While Garmin Connect offers a good simplistic view of your activities, it also can help you keep track of your basic day to day health information as well:

Edge 500 Garmin Connect Health Monitoring

Now, what’s really cool here is that if you have one of them new fangled Tanita BC-1000 scales that actually wirelessly integrates with Garmin Connect, you can send a lot of that data wirelessly straight to GC.  I reviewed this unit recently – in depth – so you’ll want to check out that review there.  Do keep in mind that unlike the 310XT, the Edge 500 will not receive data directly from the BC-1000 scale – so be aware of that.  As for the scale itself, I don’t have any experience with it – but the fine folks at Tanita actually called me up just this evening to get a demo unit to me, so before long I’ll update this section with more info on that front.

Last but not least, you can do a fair bit of simple reporting within GC, such as sorting by total activities or types of activities:

Edge 500 Garmin Connect Reporting

As I’ve said in the past, GC is a great solution for a broad set of customers who want easy access to information about their sports activities.  While it’s great for that purpose, I generally find it a bit too simplified for my own day to day use, as I prefer to be able to drill down in more detail to different areas of my workouts.  That said – given it’s free…you really can’t go wrong.

Garmin Training Center:

This software is the old school version of Garmin Connect that’s installable on your PC.  The catch here is that aside from minor updates to ensure compatibility with new products (such as the Edge 500), the software is pretty much a 1990’s era application that should only be used if you absolutely must.  Garmin has classified it as ‘end of life’, and it doesn’t even come on the little CD with the Edge 500 (unlike previous versions where it was automatically installed).

In short though it allows you to not only download – but also upload activity information to and from the Edge 500.

Edge 500 Garmin Training Center

Once the information is in GTC, you can view basic details about your ride:

Edge 500 Garmin Training Center Post-Ride

In addition, GTC offers one of the most important options – which is the ability to send a ‘Course’ to your Edge 500.  This allows you to then ride the course with information on where to go and what’s upcoming.

Edge 500 Garmin Training Center Post-Ride Mapping

The above is actually a course of the Longhorn 70.3 bike course that my Coach created using MapMyRide for me to ride, and then I simply transferred it into the unit.  I use the option to export it to the right Garmin format (below), and then from there I can import into GTC and then send it to the device.

Edge 500 Download Course

Edge 500 Sending to Courses

One important note – if you do indeed use GTC with the Edge 500 be sure you download the most recent version dated at least December 2nd, 2009.  This version includes all the necessary updates to support the Edge 500.  So, if you have it already installed from a different Garmin product go ahead and get the quick update.  The update does actually add a few itty-bitty tiny non-Edge 500 features such as now showing power information – so it’s worthwhile if you’re a 310XT and Edge 705 user as well.  You can grab that version here.

Training Peaks:

Training Peaks (TP) is the application I use day to day to get workouts from all my various training devices (like the Edge 500) to my coach.  Training Peaks has two pieces – the first is the Device Agent, which sits on your local computer.  And the second is the website – which is where you do all your data viewing.   After starting the device agent (version 3.0) you’ll notice a new drop-down which includes support for the Edge 500:

Edge 500 with Training Peaks

After that you press ‘Open Files’ to go ahead and let the TP agent software open the files directly from the Garmin disk drive.

Edge 500 with Training Peaks picking FIT files

After pressing ‘Open’, and then pressing ‘Save’, it will automatically transfer your workout to the Training Peaks website.  You can press the ‘Login’ button to simply open up a new browser window and log you into the site.

Edge 500 Uploading via Training Peaks

From there you can go ahead and transfer it to Training Peaks where you can analyze your ride in more depth.

Edge 500 Training Peaks Dashboard

WKO+ 3.0

This isn’t quite out yet – but when it does come out, it will support the Edge 500 natively.  As of today, WKO+ version 2 doesn’t support the Edge 500 and requires you to do an export to a TCX file. 

But just as a bit of background, WKO+ is the installable version of Training Peaks that offers incredibly detailed analysis of workouts.  Heavily focused on managing workouts with power meter data, WKO+ is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to detailed power file analysis.

*Update December 2009: WKO+ 3.0 released.

Sport Tracks

Sport Tracks is hands down my favorite sports management application out there, mostly because it’s free.  The only trick is, it doesn’t exactly work natively yet with the Edge 500.  This is because the Edge 500 uses the .FIT format (different from the .TCX format of the past), which Sport Tracks doesn’t yet support (quick side note – .FIT is different than .FITLOG, which ST does support).

That said, you can export the TCX files from both Garmin Training Center (GTC) and Garmin Connect (though, ST doesn’t correctly parse the power export from GC).  Once you do that, you can quickly and easily import them into Sports Tracks:

Edge 500 with Sport Tracks Importing

Once you’ve imported them into Sport Tracks, you have a TON of options for looking at the details of the ride:

Edge 500 data imported into Sport Tracks

Edge 500 data imported into Sport Tracks - Speed/Distance Graph

There’s also a TON more you can do with Sports Tracks, check out this post I did a few weeks back on all the cool free plug-ins and extras.


The Edge 500 has a slew of accessories that you interoperate with it.  The majority of these are made by Garmin, but one category (power meters) requires you to purchase a 3rd party device.  Let’s go through the most common ones first:

Extra Mounts:

In the event you need more bike mounts than the two provided, you can pickup this bike mount kit for a very reasonable $10.  It includes another two mounts, and another 14 rubber bands.

Edge 500 Mount Kit Edge 500 Mount Kit

Given I wrote a ton about the bike mount kit above earlier, I’ll save you from reading about it again and just refer you to that section.

You can pick up the mount kit for about $10.

Heart Rate Monitor Strap:

The Edge 500 comes in two versions – one with a HR monitor and cadence/speed sensor – and one without those two accessories.  If you decide to get the one with the HR strap combo, you’ll receive the below strap:

Edge 500 Classic Heart Rate Strap

This is the standard old school style strap that Garmin’s been using and/or including with their fitness devices for years.  So if you already have one of these straps, you’re good to go.  Now, interestingly Garmin did not include the newer Premium Heart Rate strap that came out this past summer, instead opting to include the older ones.  For comparison, here’s the premium one next to the older style one:

Edge 500 Classic Heart Rate Strap vs Premium HR Strap

The major difference between the two is the rubber strap on the older one versus the soft fabric almost all the way around on the newer one.  Now, the good news here is that you can still simply buy the new soft premium HR strap separately if you’d like.  I just think they should have included that one instead – especially given the premium you pay for the boxed version that includes it.  Its retail price is $100 higher (strap + cadence/speed sensor).

If you don’t purchase the regular HR strap as part of the kit, it costs $60 on Garmin’s site, or $30 on Amazon.  The premium one costs $70 on Garmin’s site, or $45 on Amazon.  As you’ll see in the next section – you could pickup the premium HR strap for $45, plus the cadence sensor for $40 on Amazon and save a bit compared to the bundled version with the old school strap.

Cadence/Speed Meter:

Within the more expensive version of the Edge 500 you’ll find a cadence/speed sensor.  The cadence sensor reports back your cadence over the course of a ride, in RPM (revolutions per minute).  For example, here’s a simple graph of what one looks like – those drops in the graph is where I stopped pedaling for a second, such a coasting:  Edge 500 Cadence Graph

In addition to cadence, by using the little wheel magnet that’s included you can get speed and distance while indoors on a trainer.  Or if you lose GPS reception such as when in a tunnel.  Below is a quick photo outline of the three major pieces of the speed/cadence kit:

Edge 500 Cadence Magnets

The kit is basically three pieces.  The first piece is the wireless sensor and transmitter.  This sits on the frame near the back wheel using included zip ties and pickups up rotations from both the wheel, and your crank (where your pedal is attached):

Edge 500 Garmin Cadence Sensor

Next up is the little wheel magnet – this simply flies past the sensor every rotation, which is then recorded by the Edge 500 and using a mathematical calculation based on wheel circumference, your distance is determined:

Edge 500 Garmin Speed Sensor Wheel Magnet

Last up is the cadence magnet.  This tiny little thing has adhesive backing and zip-ties to your pedal crank to record every time your pedal goes around once – thus producing RPM’s and thereby your cadence.  Note that you’ll want to ensure you have this thing well zip-tied to your bike on a clean surface, otherwise it’s susceptible to loss (not that I’d know anything about that…).

Edge 500 Garmin Speed Sensor Crank Magnet

This whole setup can be found on Garmin’s site for $60, or Amazon for $39.  Personally I think it’s probably the most important accessory you can get for your Garmin system, as it helps you to utilize cadence in training and racing, but also allows you to record all those nice winter trainer rides you’re doing…you are doing them…right?

Power Meter

While Garmin doesn’t make any power meters themselves, they do provide compatibility with any third party companies that create ANT+ power meters.  For example, if you have a PowerTap or a Quarq powermeter– you can pair it with the Garmin 500 and get power data displayed on and recorded on the Edge.

See the section above for more detailed info on power recording and display with the Edge 500.

Below is a quick photo of what the Quarq Cinqo looks like.  But to understand power meters and how they all work, check out this Power Meters 101 primer post I wrote a few months ago to get a good understanding of their value.

Edge 500 with Quarq Cinqo

Final Summary

Comparison Chart between models:

If you’re looking at all the options out there on the Garmin line, I put together this handy little chart to try and boil down some of the relevant features from the ‘marketing features’.

Function/FeatureGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 6th, 2019 @ 8:18 amNew Window
Price$199$169$299 (42mm), $349 (46mm)$279$399/$499 (cellular)
Product Announcement DateSEP 1, 2009March 6th, 2019Nov 2018Sept 13th, 2018Sept 12th, 2018
Actual Availability/Shipping DateDec 2009March 2019Nov 2018November 2018Sept 21st, 2018
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesvia phoneYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBBluetooth SmartBluetooth Smart (smartphone)USB, BLUETOOTH SMARTBluetooth Smart
WaterproofingIPX750m100mYes - 30m50m
Battery Life (GPS)18 hoursN/A25hr (42mm), 35hr (46mm), up to 100hrs UltraMaxUp to 30 hours6hrs GPS on time (24-48hrs standby)
Recording Interval1-Second or Smart1-second1-second1sVaries
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoN/AYesYesYes via phone
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatN/AGreatGreatMost times
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYesNoNoYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Can control phone musicYesNoNoYes
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoYes
Streaming ServicesN/AN/ANoApple Music
PaymentsGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNoNoYes
ConnectivityGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoN/ANoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesFeb 2019Yes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNoYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoYes (with cellular version)
CyclingGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesNoYesYesNo
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesN/ANoYesN/A
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesN/ANP onlyNoN/A
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesNoYesYesNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoFuture Update (Date TBD)No
Crash detectionNoNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Designed for runningNoYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)N/ANo (but has treadmill functionality)YesYesWith 3rd party apps
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)N/ANoNoNoNo
Running PowerNoYes with 3rd party devices (not built-in like Vantage V)With 3rd party apps
VO2Max EstimationN/AYes, via appYesYesYes
Race PredictorN/ANoNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorN/ANoYesNoNo
Run/Walk ModeN/ANoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
SwimmingGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Designed for swimmingNoSorta (waterproof)YesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeN/ANoYesYesYEs
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/ANoYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterN/AN/AYesYesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AN/AYesYesBasic stroke type only
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AN/AYesYesBasic stroke type only
Indoor Drill ModeN/AN/ANoNoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureN/AN/A-YesYes
Change pool sizeN/AN/AYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/AN/A15y/m-300y/m20M/Y to 250 m/y1y/m to 1,500y/m+
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AN/AYesYesVery limited
Can change yards to metersN/AN/AYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AN/AYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AN/AYesN/AYes (goals)
TriathlonGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Designed for triathlonNoNoYesYesNot really
Multisport modeN/ANoYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesNoNoYesWith 3rd party apps
On-unit interval FeatureYesNoYesNoWith 3rd party apps
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
FunctionsGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesNoNoNo (but can give out of zone alerts)Sorta (Pacing feature)
Virtual Racer FeatureNonoNoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNoNo
Day to day watch abilityN/AYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoYesNoNoYes
NavigateGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoPlanned updateNoWith 3rd party apps
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Back to startYesNoNoFeb 2019With 3rd party apps
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoWith 3rd party apps
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoPlanned UpdateNoWith 3rd party apps
SensorsGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Altimeter TypeBarometricNoneBarometricGPSBarometric
Compass TypeGPSN/AMagneticN/AN/A
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoYesYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)NoNoNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesNoYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoYesNono
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesnOYesNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNonONoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NonONoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNonONoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoYesNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNonOYesNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesNoYesYesNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NonoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesNo-N/ANo
SoftwareGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressPC/MacNoPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacNone
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectYEsNoPolar FlowNone
Phone AppGarmin Connect Mobile (not direct to device though)iOS/Android/WindowsiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS only
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLinkN/A
DCRainmakerGarmin Edge 500Fitbit Versa LiteCOROS APEXPolar Vantage MApple Watch Series 4
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink


It’s really hard to condense down the massive number of features within these products into a simple pro’s and con’s section.  But…I’ve tried to highlight some of the key areas here that you’re probably interested in that stand out the most in my mind when I think about this device:


– Small Form factor: There is simply no other product on the market, or near the market that has all of the features of the Edge 500 packed into it.  The next closest thing is the 310XT, though that lacks some of the cycling specific features that serious cyclists will take advantage of.

– Super lightweight: Weighing less than a single egg at 2oz, this unit won’t add much weight to your setup.  And, as I always remind myself – if I really need to reduce the overall weight of my bike computer, I can likely find that weight on my rear via a reduction of cupcakes.

– New mount system: I really like the ease and simplicity of the new mount system.  I can easily swap it between bikes in a matter of seconds without any tools or zip-ties.  Plus, it locks quite securely and hopefully will in the long term keep from any loss of unit issues.  As a bonus, the mount is completely compatible with the 310XT mounts and devices, so you can swap things around there a bit.

– Barometer based altimeter, and temperature monitor: Having a barometer based altimeter is much better than a GPS based one, as it’s far more accurate in consumer applications.  And the temperature monitor (even if a bit slow) – is a nice add-on.

– Compatibility with ANT+ devices – in particular – power meters.  More and more cycling devices and accessories are going the way of ANT+, and this spring will bring a tidal wave of new devices (including newer, cheaper power meters).


– Hard to read screen due to glare: As noted earlier, I’ve had some issues with actually reading the screen depending on your body position and the sun’s glare.  With overcast days or indoors it’s not an issue, but on sunny days you have a very limited viewing range.

– Loss of/Missing activity data: I’ve had issues in the past with the Edge 705 that seemed to have been resolved in recent months with new firmware, and I was REALLY hoping this would be a thing of the past.  But alas, just five hours before I went to publish this I ran into a single lost workout.  After finishing the workout and holding reset as normal to save it, I went ahead and connected it to my computer…and found nothing.  The workout was simply gone.  I rang up normal Garmin support, but they weren’t able to get it back.  Because I also work in the computing field, I tried using some tools to recover lost & deleted files, but that too resulted in no love. Note that a new firmware was also released today (Dec 14th, version 2.10) – so it’s entirely possible this issue has already been addressed in that release.


In conclusion, I think your decision on whether to purchase the Edge 500 really comes down to your user profile.

For the serious or competitive cyclist the Edge 500 gives you a very lightweight and small platform to record your training or race data in the same form factor that old school bike computers have historically done for decades.  The key difference is now you get all the data that up until now have required much larger devices. The lower price point (compared to other Edge and Forerunner units) is also very attractive for anybody with a power meter.  There are some other options coming onto the market here shortly, but none of them have the same feature sets for this price point.  So for you – I’d say go for it!

For the triathlete the Edge 500 gives you the capability to record and display your bike training and race data on a small form factor device.  However, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all device like the Garmin Forerunner 310XT.  It’s designed as a uber-low-profile device for cyclists, so while it would make a great addition to your tri bike, you should keep in mind that you may want additional features for those 112 mile long training rides (such as mapping, or the ability to run-off the bike and simply change recording modes) or dozens of miles of running.  As such, for a triathlete I’d really recommend looking at the 310XT as your primary device.

Lastly, for the casual cyclist.  This is the cheapest GPS based ANT+ recording device out there.  While there are a few other products coming to the market shortly, one doesn’t do GPS (Joule) and the other doesn’t actually record data (Bontrager).  The third device doesn’t display data while your riding (collecting data only, Qollector).  One thing to keep in mind though is that if you’re a casual cyclist it’s unlikely you’d have a power meter, so looking at some of the cheaper options (like the Garmin Forerunner 305 – about half the price of the Edge 500 these days) may make more sense.

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  Also, I took a lot of pictures over the course of writing this review – 418 of them to be exact.  And I know that a lot of folks (like myself) like to see different angles of the product used in different ways.  So instead of just leaving them on my hard drive forever, I’ve taken a fair chunk of them and put them up in this little gallery above for you to be able to browse through.

Found this review useful?  Or just want a sweet deal?

Hopefully you found this review useful.  At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.  The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).  As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pickup the Edge 500 through Clever Training using the link below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Edge 500 in neutral black/white
Edge 500 in special edition red (bundle)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit or accessories (though, no discount on either from Amazon).  Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

AccessoryManufacturerStreet PriceAmazon LinkClever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)B&H Photo LinkMore Info
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated January 27th, 2018 @ 4:29 am
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar MountBarfly/Tate Labs$25LinkN/ALink
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike MountBarfly/Tate Labs$37LinkN/ALink
PowerTap G3 ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)CycleOps/PowerTap$790 (hub only)LinkLinkLink
PowerTap Pro ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)CycleOps/PowerTap$899LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1Garmin$37.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2Garmin$69.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3Garmin$50LinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)Garmin$28.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)Garmin$35.00LinkLinkLink
Garmin Edge Series Extra Bike Mounts (2 sets in box)Garmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin Edge Series Mini-USB Car ChargerGarmin$10.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin out-front bike mount (For all Edge units, 310XT/910XT/920XT with Quick Release)Garmin$38.00LinkLinkN/A
K-Edge Garmin Handlebar Mount X-Large for Edge units (including Edge 1000)K-Edge$45.00N/ALinkN/A
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!Motorola$55.00LinkN/ALink
Power2Max ANT+ Power MeterPower2Max$970 (no cranks)N/AN/ALink
PowerCal ANT+ Estimated Power MeterPowerTap$99LinkLinkLink
SRAM Quarq Cinqo (Original) ANT+ Power MeterQuarq/SRAMDiscontinuedLinkN/ALink
SRAM Quarq Elsa & RED ANT+ Power MeterSRAM/Quarq$1,600 (with cranks, no chainrings)LinkLinkLink
SRAM Quarq Riken ANT+ Power MeterSRAM/Quarq$1,200 (with cranks, no chainrings)LinkLinkLink
Stages ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Power MeterStages Cycling$699N/ALinkLink

Thanks for reading!  And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.  And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.  Thanks!

Finally, I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using most of the major fitness devices, which you may find useful in getting started with the devices.  These guides are all listed on this page here.

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  1. Matze

    Hi Rainmaker,
    thanks for this extensive review & pictures.
    I already have my Edge 500 on order. Should be in my hands soon. Looking forward …


  2. Anonymous

    Great review Ray as always.


  3. Thanks Rainmaker, now I understand what “In depth” means…

  4. Ray when you were using the Garmin 500 with your Cinqo powermeter, was there any issues related to the cadence pick-up given the Cinqo reports cadence itself? Does the pick-up of the Cinqo cadence signal turn “off” the Garmin cadence sensor? Is the cadence reported by the Garmin in the downloaded data that of the Cinqo or the Garmin sensors? As I understand it you wouldn’t need to hook up the Garmin cadence sensor??



  5. Anonymous

    Zero averaging – on vs off – Just to be clear this is what you see ON the unit vs what data is captured and downloaded. So in your case I’d only see the 200W w/ zero off vs XXXW w/ zero on when reviewing that data on the unit?

  6. How reliable is the GPS fix? Could you leave the Edge 500 in a jersey pocket or even the center zipped pocket at the rear of many running tights, and still pick up a reliable signal?

    I was wondering if the Edge 500 could be occasionally used when I want a GPS track of a cross country skiing session. Can I avoid the the 310XT quick release kit?

    I’m currently using a FR60 and foot pod, but need a new cycling computer and I’d like a GPS device. The 310XT and 405 are too big for my wrists so I’d love to get an Edge 500. The 310XT should be perfect but I think I’d be happier with the FR60 and an Edge 500. Hopefully this explains my odd question!

    Great review, love the detail.


  7. Anonymous

    great review – much appreciated. At the risk of sounding shallow (and beauty is in the eye of the beholder 🙂 I can’t help thinking a ‘Con’ of the 500 is the colour – I mean really, ‘Shimano’ blue???

  8. Thanks all-


    RE: Cadence from Cinqo or Cadence Sensor

    Let me test that out on tomorrow’s trainer ride and see which one it’s pulling from – I’ve been meaning to double-check that anyway.


    RE: Zero Averaging



    RE: GPS Reliability

    I actually put it on my pocket initially for one run (yes, run) and it works just fine. Also had it in my back bike pockets as well. In fact, I even took it on a plane flight in my backpack below the seat in front of me and it recorded fairly well for some chunks – but not quite as well as the 310XT and 705 recorded. But for casual use (not in an airplane), it will easily work in a backpack or under clothing layers.

  9. Since you have both 705 and the 500, which one will you use more now? Or will you ditch the other?

    I see the 500 as a tempting impulse buy, even though if I already have the 705.

    I’d like to know if the “heart rate based caloric calculations” makes a difference between the two units. Do you see a difference in results on the same run?

  10. that response about the USB location/implementation seems like absolute nonsense, either they misunderstood your question, or don’t realize you’ve gotta take the device off of the bike to download data anyways…

    That really does seem rather questionable.

    but as always,
    Great Review

  11. Great Review as always!

  12. Very nice review! as you do usually 😉

    Just a question: how do we create POWER workout with GTC or GC?

  13. Wari-

    RE: 500 vs 705

    For me, I’ll likely use the 705 most of the time due to the cleaner/easier to read screen and occasional mapping use.

    I’d have to check on the calories and see how it does on the same ride. I’ll play with it tonight on a trainer ride.


    RE: USB adapter vs weather sealed

    I completely agree 100% with you.


    RE: Power workout in GTC

    Unfortuntely, you can’t create power workouts with GTC (only HR and Pace). You’ll have to use Sports Tracks with the Garmin Fitness plug-in instead.

    I talk about it here: link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

  14. Anonymous

    Terrific review as always. Very well done.

  15. Thanks, I’ve always like to know the differences calorie computation can make. For example the Forerunner 405 and the Edge 705, can wildly different readings on the same ride.

    Whereas, in theory, the 310XT and the Edge 500, should give similar results, and based on my understanding, possibly half of what the Edge 705 would give.

  16. Great review Rainmaker!

    Only question I have is…..Did Garmin fix the power-off design problem found in the Edge 305? I’ve heard the same design problem exists in the 705 (Contact between the battery connections and the main circuit board lose connection over time).

    I love my 305 but the power design issue is really frustrating. I now several cyclist that have sworn off all Garmin products just because of this problem and Garmin’s unwillingness to make it right, or even admit that it is a design flaw.

    Thanks again for the very thorough review.

  17. Very thorough review, thanks for putting so much time into this and helping out other potential users!

    One somewhat unrelated question: can you use two power units at once, ie run the Garmin 500 and PowerTap CPU simultaneously, and collect power data, etc..?

    Thanks again!

  18. Great review. Your time and attention to detail are definitely appreciated.

    The only thing holding me back is the screen. Im thinking about buying one of those anti glare screen protectors for the iphone and then using the screen protector that comes on the Edge 500 as a pattern to cut out a anti glare screen protector.

    If that doesnt work I can always return the unit to my lbs and get the 705…

  19. Anonymous

    Great review. Very thorough. I just bought one of these before finding your review but it confirms my choice. The 310xt would have been better for my needs but the Edge 500 is a more economical way to get power. I was disappointed at the lack of workouts, but nice to see it will be coming in a firmware update.

    As for ANT+ versus USB. I suspect the resaon there’s no ANT+ data transfer is because they couldn’t meet their price point if it was included. Additional cost for the ANT+ stick plus some fancy inductive charging would have driven the price too high.

  20. I just purchased one of these and it is en route from REI to me! Your review was quite helpful. Quick question, in the photo album, photo IMG_4999 shows a quick release mount with zip ties? Which mount is that?

  21. Thanks for posting your review. I bought mine in two parts… sensors and premium heart rate belt from AntOnline and base Edge 500 from Amazon. In the end it was cheaper than the Garmin package.

    One feature I’m excited about is display of ascent rate. Its a pretty good indicator of power output on climbs. Michael Ferrari calls it VAM.

  22. What an incredible review. I purchased an Edge 500 a week ago, but your article filled me in on some of the features I wasn’t even aware of. So far I’ve used it on a mtn ride, trail run and on the trainer (second cadence sensor came in tonight). Thanks!

  23. Hi Jim:

    RE: Garmin power off problem in 305

    Yes, my understanding was this was fixed fairly early into the 705 production cycle. For example, my 705 never had this problem. I haven’t had this problem with the Edge 500, though it’s been pretty early.


    RE: Two power units at once

    Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to pair the unit to more than one power meter. I wish that were the case, it would be kinda fun.


    RE: Quick Release with Kit

    That’s the 310XT quick release bike kit you see there, it works pretty well.

    Thanks all!

  24. Joachim

    Very comprehensive write-up, love the review. I was ready to buy from the day this was announced just from the specs alone. Your review is truly the icing.

    On the color, well it did bug me enough to ask Garmin about it. Here is their response:

    Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I will be happy to assist you. Unfortunately at this moment that is the only color that will be available. We may come out with new colors, but I have no information regarding if or when this will happen.

    With Best Regards,
    Gary H
    Product Support Specialist
    Outdoor/Fitness Team
    Garmin International

  25. Excellent, detailed review-thank you for taking the time to review this unit is such detail! I’m currently using a Polar S725X and wish it upgrade to the Garmin Edge 500 to be able to gain access to ANT+ Power meters, add GPS routing capabilities to overlay with the rest of the data (what percent grade was that climb, and where was it located in the data-much easier to answer with a GPS mapped overlay than remembering it was 43 miles into the ride…), and get data recording resolution finer than every 5 seconds. The only drawback to the 500 that I could see (thus far) was the absence of the ‘workout’ planning function to plan intervals, etc.-glad to hear its on it’s way in Q1, 2010…

    My questions: Can you explain the ‘smart recording’ feature for the data recording rate and what that actually translates into in practical usage? It sounds like the 500 will record a data point (alt, speed, cadence, etc–all data inputs?) any time the speed, direction, or heart rate changes-in practical use, that happens all the time for me so I’m guessing the recording rate is fairly fine when I want it to be–can you elaborate? How frequently does this actually record a data point and does it record all fields when it does record an ‘instant’ to keep the data in sync for that point in time? I’m specifically looking to go back to climbs and determine max % grades I rode up…

    Also, can you set the recording rate to be 1 sec, even without the power meter option turned ‘on’-or can you just turn the power input on and record away with a ‘zero’ field for power in order to get the data recording rate I’m really after?

    Please advise your experience on the above, particularly in light of my objective: getting peak % grades and, Max HR, and max speed (all without the Power meter at this point–I’m sure it will be a mute point once I get a PowerTap).

    Thanks again for your efforts!


  26. Great comprehensive review. Thank you. Got one as an Xmas gift from my wife. I’ve learned much about its features reading your review without having to delve into the manual.

    As far as the color of the unit, it meshes perfectly with my white, blue and black themed bike. My thoughts are it’s about time we got some love given the white, red, and black that’s the preferred color scheme of the day on so many bikes and accessories. Good on you Garmin.

  27. Just a note to say that your review is incredibly thorough and really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to put this whole thing together. I, too, got the 500 for Christmas, and am really happy to know about the Courses feature.

    Thanks again! This is how product reviews *should* be done!

  28. Extremely thorough and helpful review.

    Thanks DC Rainmaker!

  29. DDH

    DC Rainmaker,

    Thanks for the awesome, detailed review. I like to over analyze every purchase and you make that very possible!!!

    Question: Do you know if the new firmware release for the Edge 500 will allow speed to be displayed in a pace form (mile per min) for use in running? Just wondering… may be nice.

    Thanks again, your work is appreciated

  30. Anonymous

    Thanks Rainmaker. A top detailed review that I added your site to my favourites for the future. Cookie from the land down under.

  31. Thanks alot for the highly “in depth” review. The description on the Garmin site is so vague and fluffy, I really needed more. I ordered one and they should send you a commission! Happy trails

  32. Very nice review.
    It will be in my hand very soon.
    One of the best things that a company like Garmin do is providing future support after purchasing a product with firmware revisions that add functionality and correct mistakes.
    Best regards from Spain.

  33. Best review I’ve seen on this product yet! Can you tell me-if I buy the basic version, can I use my existing HR strap (non Garmin) with this unit? I really don’t need cadence info, but would love to have HR features if possible. Just am too cheap to buy the deluxe unit if I don’t need it!

    Thanks again for the great review.

  34. slcpunk

    I had a forerunner 305. I liked to use it for things in addition to just running or biking- primarily hiking or skiing. In these cases, I usually put the device in the top of a pack or a pocket. The GPS always worked ok, however, on the 305 it was very easy to accidentally stop the logging, as the buttons could pressed very easily.

    I checked the manual, there is no “key lock” that I could see on the 500 … how hard is it to bump the buttons and press them?

  35. Harold

    Thank you for an excellent review!
    I found it very informative.

    I have just configured an Edge 500 for a friend and found it very attractive. But I still have two questions about it.

    First, I didn’t notice Speed – Max as a screen option. Could I possibly have missed it, or is that no longer a standard option?

    Secondly, I presently have an Edge 305 and my biggest complaint (battery life is a close second) is the limit on the length of the data file.
    I really enjoy long epic mountain bike rides and races and I am frustrated when I find I’ve lost the start of my ride or race due to the ~3.5 hours or so (depending on the smart logging) of data capacity.
    I didn’t see any mention of how long the 500 could log a continuously changing data set for. Do you know?

    Again, a pleasure to read your review and I also will look forward to your reviews whenever I go shopping.



  36. Me, too – great review.

    I purchased the 500 today. I realize, after reading your review, I need to purchase the cadence sensor kit, because I occasionally like to track my distance on my rollers (not that I need rollers often in Los Angeles – it was 80 degrees today, January 11.

    The tip of where to find that kit – amazon – was a good one. Thanks.

    It’s going to be a bit of a pain, and/or more expensive, to switch between two bikes when I do use rollers, than it was with my former cyclometer. Do I reattach the sensor, or buy another unit?

    And I wonder how well the two mounts included for the 500 will hold up after lots of switching back and forth between bikes. That’s what did my old cyclometer in (which cost half as much as the 500). The mounting plates were wearing out. That and interference from my iPhone, computer, bike light, etc.

  37. There seems to be an important missing feature. It’s GPS driven but nowhere is the readout of LAT-LONG available! In the 305 you could see it under “Mark Location”. Locally a helocopter was directed to a rescue point by a cyclist with a GPS, but with a 500 someone could still be lost.

  38. Thanks all for the comments! And sorry for the delay, been traveling overseas for past three weeks and trying to catchup on everything.

    Hi Sean (SMHagger):

    RE: Smart Recording vice normal recording for practical usage:

    On the 500 (and the 310XT) you cannot set the recording rate to 1s unless you have a power meter (which it then does automatically). This kinda sucks to be honest (as I noted in the review). I haven’t seen two many issues with either unit and smart recording. The only time I’ve seen some oddities is inside on a trainer on the older 305 with smart recording on, where the HR data gets too averaged. But I haven’t seen that issue on the 310XT/705 or 500. So, I think you’ll get the max % grades without issue and the Max HR as well (since it would likely trigger a data point). Hope this helps some!

    Hi DDH:

    RE: Firmware update release to show pace instead of MPH

    As much as I’d love to see this, I highly doubt they’ll add it. In general Garmin adds very few features after release to their fitness line. Because of the QA testing and that would be required for a company of it’s level, I’m doubting they’d spend the extra time to add a data field like that (as easy as it may sound, and probably is, the regression testing that has to be done means a ton of additional test cases). Sorry! (Though, just my guess/opinion)

    Hi Phil:

    RE: Using older Garmin HR strap with this unit.

    Depends. Any older Garmin ANT+ HR strap will work without issue. However, if it’s not ANT+, it won’t work. There’s a little icon on the back of the HR strap usually – though that can get worn off. The Polar’s are not compatible, neither are ones from most gyms. But, the PowerTAP ones are.

    Hi slcpunk:

    RE: Bumping a key on/keylock

    It’s actually kinda difficult. In fact, as I mentioned in the review, using it with gloves can be a bit tricky due to the harder nature of pressing the buttons. I’ve toted it around in a backpack a bit on this past trip without it ever triggering a false key press. Hope this helps!

    Hi Harold:

    Re: Max Speed

    No, max speed is not a data field you can choose. The only speed fields are: ‘Speed’, ‘Speed – Avg’, ‘Speed – Lap’. 🙁 It is in the summary view, but imho that’s kinda useless as it’s just post-ride after the given ride has been ‘stopped’.

    Re: The longest I’ve logged personally was something like 16 hours, on a flight from Seattle to Tokyo to Beijing. No issues.

    Hi Dave:

    RE: Multiple bikes and cadence sensors

    Yeah, it’s going to be a pain to swap between them. Huge pain imho. I’d simply lay out the additioanl $30 for another set of sensors so you can just swap bike profiles. Then your life will be MUCH easier. 🙂

    RE: Mounts holding up after years of abuse

    That’s the one question I’m still out on. I’m unsure on it. Though, the good part is they are so darn cheap that maybe it’s better than the big plastic ones that can easily snap. These are all rubber based and perhaps they’ll brave the elements better (and hard use).

    Hi Douglass:

    RE: Lat/Long available

    Actually, it is available. If you go under GPS > Set Elevation it will show you your current Lat/Long. 🙂

  39. Paul

    Thanks for the review.

    Regarding the ‘Course’ feature. You say it won’t tell you to turn right to get back onto your route etc.

    But does it show you the general direction you should be heading to get back on route or what?

  40. Yup, it will show you where you are in relation to the course.

  41. cru_jones

    I know it’s only one review, but there was a comment on Amazon re: the premium strap not working correctly…can anyone comment?

    link to amazon.com

  42. Hey CRU_Junes:

    Re: Strap

    I’ll let others comment as well. But the one you linked to above (which is titled Premium HR Strap) – isn’t actually the official Garmin Premium Heart Rate Strap, at least looking at the pictures. They are very different.

    As for the official one that you can get directly from Garmin (no idea why not yet on Amazon), I use it 100% of the time with the Edge 500. I got the Premium HR strap with the 310XT, and it works flawlessly.

  43. Any idea how large the heart rate strap is? I am a Clydesdale with a chest size 49. I am hoping it fits.

  44. I’ve got my Garmin 500 – thanks to your review, set up went smoothly.

    Compared to my regular bike cyclometers, the data available on this this device is amazing. However it’s missing, I think, one cool feature: the maximum grade for any particular ride (which was on my VDO).

    If it is missing, it’s not an earth-shattering omission. It’s nice to know, though, after I’ve struggled up a steep hill and didn’t make the effort to look at the cyclometer, just what the grade was.

  45. OK – I see it’s easy to determine the steepest grade, via the grade graph.

  46. Jab

    Awesome review! Living in Arizona, I’m concerned about the visibility of the display. Can I “shift” my way around the problem to vary the angle or is this going to be extremely problematic?

  47. Anonymous

    Thanks for your review – I have bought one. Re: Course feature
    How do I zoom into (i.e. change the resolution of) the “breadcrumb” map to follow a course? This used to be a nice feature in the edge 305, but I just can’t find it in the edge 500.

  48. Aaron

    About the glare issue: I wonder if wearing polarized sunglasses while riding would eliminate the problem. Can anyone confirm this?

  49. Hi Spencer:

    Re: Size ofheart rate strap

    Hmm…I haven’t seen any clydes complain yet about the size being too small. The strap goes pretty darn big, though I would say the non-premium one (old school style included in Edge 500) does seem to go bigger than the premium one.

    Hi Jab:

    RE: Visibility in Arizona

    It’s certainly workable, just have to sometimes shift position to see it. Sometimes that’s merely an inch or two, otherwise it’s more. I think you’ll be fine honestly.

    Hi Anon:

    RE: Course zooming

    Interesting obervation, you’re right. I can’t seem to find any way to zoom either. Simply not enough buttons. I poked around the Garmin Forums, but didn’t see anyone ask how. You may want to ask there – and see if the engineers know how. link to forums.garmin.com

    Hi Aaron:

    RE: Polarized sunglasses

    Hmm…I’ll have to try that out sometime this week…

    Thanks all!

  50. Anonymous

    I too was wondering about the premium HR strap. I have read some bad reviews about it. Has anyone else used it? If so, please post any comments (pro or con)

  51. Hi everybody.
    Very impressive review indeed, Rainmaker !
    I’d like to share my opinion about altimeter function, because until now I have totally different observations. Considering yours, I will need to do more testing, especially on car GPS devices to make sure what we really have got.
    You wrote :

    Barometric Altimeter (Elevation sensor):
    If you’ve ever used any of the Forerunner series of watches (305/310/405/etc…) you’ve probably wondered why the elevation data is always a bit questionable. That’s because that series of watches uses GPS to determine elevation – which is not a true altimeter based on barometric pressure. While GPS-based altimeters used in aviation and military applications are far more accurate – those used in consumer applications tend to be sketchy.
    The good news here is that the Edge 500 (like the Edge 705) uses a barometric altimeter instead, so the elevation readings are generally very very accurate. This data is recorded within every track (activity), and presented in virtually all sports applications out there:

    I was using many normal – non GPS cyclo computers with of course barometric altimeters. And I was waiting for GPS device, because air pressure vary to weather changes a lot. Even if weather is stable over day, when running long distance trip, baro altimeter can show you up to around 150metres difference between morning start, and evening coming back to your base. That difference is maybe easily acceptable for driver, but not for cyclist.
    What the dissapointment it was for me, when a few years ago I found new Edge 705 based on baro altimeter !
    You wrote, that above screenshot shows time taken to adjust elevation. If such an 200 feet error needs average 16 miles ride with Edge 500 for adjustment, it means disqualification comparing to others baro alti cyclo computers. Normally they can be adjusted in few seconds BEFORE you start riding. For example Sigma ROX 9.0 offers 3 pre-set home altitudes choice.You can also quickly adjust altitude at any time you notice, that computer shows you different altitude than map does. Without losing data already recorded since you started current trip, and without need to stop riding.
    I don’t know how to attache here screenshots showing average accuracy of Ciclo Control HAC5, and Sigma ROX 9.0 during 5-10 hours trip. So, I’m forced to describe it. I picked two examples of trips, beginning at the same point where they end, and in the meantime crossing alpine pass, going to the other side of the pass, and going back the same way – crossing the same pass after some couple hours.This way ( having two same day measurements on the top of the pass, and in the base ) we can see how barometer changes our readings during stable weather. First one of HAC5: start in Guillestre – 1018m, Col Agnel – 2723m, Castelgandolfo, Col Agnel – 2632, Guillestre – 863m. Second trip of Sigma ROX 9.0: St. Michelle du Maurienne – 847m, Col Galibier – 2664m, Le Casset, Col Galibier – 2656m, St Michel du Maurienne – 883m.

  52. During last summer we tested our non GPS cyclo computers against cheap car Nokia SatNav , which is extra to new Skoda cars. Difference is – lets say – light years. GPS is winner. Even if we were going with speed around 100mph, it was controlled very well by Nokia – about 2 times a second. And when we had to stay in the base – set in alpine valley due to bad weather, our cyclo computers were totally confused by quick changes of air pressure, showing hundreds of meters variations. Nokia GPS ( knowing nothing about weather ) was showing all the time accurate, same like the map altitude. That GPS is 1 meter accurate, and as far as I could notice, shows not bigger than 5 meters difference comparing to the map.
    I’m going to test more Sat Navs to make sure if I’m wrong or not. If eventually GPS is not easy to be accurate in our cyclo devices, why not base it on the contours of the map ? It could be easily 10 – 20 metres accurate, not much memory consuming. I’ve sent this request to Garmin when they released Edge 705, but technical development department gave me ridiculous advice to adjust it hopeless way (comparing to others ).
    Another thing is battery life. Although improved to max 18hr, it’s still risky to use it as only computer for long distances. I’m afraid average battery life time will be well below 10 hours. Maybe it would be worthy to develope optional accesory like solar panel wired to the main unit, and attached to the stem or frame ? Expanded battery life would be tempting to many of us, especially considering average 1 year battery life of normal computer, and that Edge 500 gives not much more, than non GPS computers ( the same baro alt, and SPD magnet )
    Sorry if my English is less accurate than our altimeters 😉

  53. Hi Rainmaker,

    Great review!! I just want to ask you some (stupid?) things before buying Edge 705 or 500 cause I’m not a pro.

    I want to buy a great cycle computer. I want to see my route in google earth or maps, want to re-ride this route from time to time, want to ride some cyclos I find on the internet eg Tour of Flanders (I live in that area!)…

    I read that it’s possible to import a route in the 500 but can you easily follow the track/route with no mapping on board?

    Can you please help me out? thanks!

    PS One more question: what’s the thing with only 500 trackpoints in the edge. Here’s a link of a route I want to ride (passagecycling tour;link to gpscyclingtour.be). Can I put this in the edge or is it too many points? Thats not really clear to me.

  54. Amazing review! I would love to share it on my blog and give you some props and hopefully bring some traffic your way. Please let me know!


  55. atomz


    thanks for the review… a very nice review… 🙂

    say, halfway through our ride, the rain pours,is it okay to leave it there unprotected? or cover it with clear kitchen cling wrap or something similar?

    does covering the unit affects the air pressure sensor holes for elevation?or any other data sensor for that matter?

    i was planning to setup to bikes – 1 roadie and 1 mtb…

    for mtb,(raining the night before- pools of mud/water on the trail)…

    what would you recommend to protect the unit especially the rubber flap (usb),the sound at most important the barometric air pressure sensor? – for the situation above…

    thanks… 🙂

  56. Hi chris-

    RE: GPS Altimeter

    The Edge 500 allows you to preset elevation points, which means you can instantly correct the altimeter prior to heading out on a ride. This is the easiest way to address many of your concerns. With respect to athletic device GPS elevations compared to car GPS elevations – it simply comes down to the exact sensors and technology being used. When you look at a car, the GPS sensor can be much much bigger than that of a wristwatch or bike computer. When looking at aviation or military grade, obviously they are different sets of device that utilize additional and different technologies to ensure correct altitude.

    Unfortunately I don’t have any experiance with some of the other device you’ve mentioned, so I can’t test them. 🙁

    Finally, as for the battery life – I haven’t seen any issues thus far (about 80 days now) and it’s still lasting greater than 10+ hours (I usually end up charging it well before then). I used it on some long transpac flights in December and it didn’t die. Thanks for commenting!

    Hi Lieven-

    RE: Importing in routes on Edge 500

    Yes, if you have a GPX based track route, you can import it into the Edge 500 and simply follow the breadcrumb track. This is different from the Edge 705 in that the 705 will also layer in actual street names.

    I don’t know the maximum trackpoints supported in a track, but I’ve synced some tracks that are 120+ miles in length and have a TON of trackpoints in them. No issues thus far.

    Hi Jordan-

    RE: Linking to post

    Thanks for the comments. Yes, feel free to link to this post, I appreciate it! Thanks!

    Hi Atomz-

    RE: Leaving it unprotected in the rain and effects of it

    I generally feel there’s no reason to cover it during rain. Just ensure the little USB cap on the bottom is nice and snug and you’re good to go. Covering the bottom of the unit (with the four holes) WILL effect the altimeter of the device (elevation) so beware of that. It won’t effect any other data however.

    For a moutain bike, I had no issues with mine and some serious mud (as noted in the review), including some massive man-eating mud ponds, so I think you’ll be good to go.

    Thanks all!

  57. atomz


    thanks for the reply…

    i forgot to asked these questions on my first post…

    1. 1st pic on the “road bike” installation, the mount on the stem uses zip ties,is it included on the package?

    from your experience, which would you prefer,rubber bands or zips?

    2. on GPS performance…

    say,my schedule this week is very tight, there will be an upcoming race in two weeks time, and i can’t pre-ride the course… can a friend of my take my edge 500 unit alone and pre-ride the course using a scooter or a car, therefore saving data of the course? – for maps,elevation(through Garmin connect) or whichever is applicable…

    thanks once again…

  58. Anonymous

    Awesome Review!

    Question: I currently have an Edge 305 with cad/speed & HR monitor. Can I buy the Edge 500 (non bundle and thus less expensive) and use the cad/speed sensor and HR monitor from my Edge 305?

  59. Hi Atomz-

    RE: Stem ties

    In both cases, for the Edge 500 mount I use the included rubber bands. The other mount you may see there is the Garmin 310XT mount, which users zip-ties. There are no way to use zip-ties with the native Edge 500 mount. But as noted, the 310XT and Edge 500 mounts are compatible. Thus far though, I’m actually liking the rubber band mount, so much easier to use.

    RE: GPS pre-riding

    Yup, just send them out and have them record it. Everything including elevation and mapping will be saved to GC and downloadable to the unit as a course.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Edge 305 accessories compatibility with Edge 500

    Yup, all accessories (HR, Speed/Cadence) with the Edge 305 are compatible with the Edge 500. The mount systems are different however and not compatible.

  60. Just wanted to copy over a bunch of questions submitted via e-mail;

    1Q) Please confirm the Edge 500 will map where I’ve just finished running via Garmin Connect. Sounds like I would be required to upload the workout file to the Internet for mapping? Can this be uploaded to TrainingPeaks WKO+ to be “tagged’ with a specific workout?

    1A) Yes, the Edge 500 will map exactly where you were on Gamrin Connect (and Training Peaks). On TP it’s simply automatically included on the workout data for any given specific workout in your calendar. On GC, it shows up with each workout as well. No need to upload seperate data files, it’s all included.

    2Q) Is it possible to download a course to the Edge 500 via Garmin Connect for a course that I will run/bike in the future, and the Edge 500 will tell me how to stay on course? Sounds like this is only possible in Garmin Training Center? Is the feature that helps me stay on course robust and something I can rely on (turn right in 0.2 miles) , or merely simplistic (go southwest)?

    2A) Yes, on the Edge 500 you can follow a course, but it’s not like the Edge 705 which tells you to ‘Go left in .2 miles, on Main Street’, instead it’s more of a little breadcrump trail that you follow and it tells you if you’re off course.

    3Q) Sounds like I can purchase for ~ $25 on Amazon the 310XT watchband separately (I don’t own the 310XT) which would enable me to wearing it on my wrist when I go running? I recently parted with my 305 Forerunner (I didn’t like the short battery life and its bulky size).

    3A) Yes, correct on running with the 310XT wristband. Though keep in mind like I mentioned, you won’t get running paces – it’ll all be MPH like on a bike.

    4Q) The only drawback of using the Edge 500 (vs Garmin 310XT or Polar S625X) for running is speed is given in MPH, not minutes/mile? Is it comfortable wearing the 500 with the 310XT watchband?

    4A) Correct on MPH. I don’t find it uncomfortable using the 310XT strap with the Edge 500, just a bit odd looking.

    5Q) Any differences in cycling features/functionality between the 500 and 705 and the Garmin 310XT (besides the obvious illustrative mapping capability of the 705)? I understand the bike mount is improved in the 500 and workouts are coming in Q1 2010. I also understand power functionality is somewhat limited in the 310XT.

    5A) Correct on all assumptions. 310XT power is a bit gimpy (no 3s and 30s view). The difference between the 500 and 705 are basically just mapping and at the moment workouts (though that will soon be changed).

    6Q) Can I program the Edge 500 to read HR signals from a Polar S625x heart rate transmitter? How about from a PowerTap transmitter?

    6A) No Polar stuff is compatible with any Garmin HR stuff. 🙁 But, the PowerTap HR straps are compatible with the Garmin’s (from what I understand from others that have a PowerTap).

    7Q) Have you tried installing some sort of clear plastic over the viewing area of the 500 to reduce glare?

    7A) I have not yet tried installing any clear plastic cover. Someone also suggested different sunglass materials as an option as well. I might try those more once I get some sunny days around here…but at the moment, just a lot of rain. :-/

  61. Thanks for the awesome review. I just go my Garmin Edge 500 in and immediately plugged it into my computer. The online software detected the device and prompted me that there was an update available. I chose to update the firmware and the percentage indicator got to 100% and then threw an IE Exception. I tried a few more times and got the same error.
    The firmware never did actually update. I called support and they had me use the Web Updater utility that installs locally to your computer. That also failed but I decided that the support guy was an idiot and I began troubleshooting on my own. I tried the update again (through the web site) and ran procmon.exe at the same time. Apparently a file called gmaptz.img was getting an “access denied” response via procmon. So through Windows Explorer, I navigated to the Garmin device: e:\gamin\… and renamed the file called gmaptz.img to gmaptz.old. I then re-ran the update utility from web site and the firmware update was a success. I haven’t heard of anyone else having this problem, but I can’t imagine that I’m the only one having it so I thought I should share.

  62. Very intersting website! I am currently looking for my first garmin gps, i am very confused with what to get!! I have looked at the forerunner 305 and the edge 500 (i want something small) I mainly mountain bike and occasionally run and ski. what would you recommend for monitoring my 3 activities?

  63. 2 more problems with 500 making it hardly usable:

    1) Lap/history is not available for the ride until Garmin is connected to computer.
    Say you did 5 minute interval, marked with lap. in 705 you can go to history and see your avg power for the lap, not so much in 500!

    2) Buttons are on the side and very hard to press. Again with intervals its very hard to mark start/stop or to switch to different screen, it is cumbersome. In later case there is now audio feedback either.

    There is another quarq/srm specific issue, where PM sends signal few times per second and Garmin only picks one sample per second.

    On there very useful feature you’ve missed is your ascend speed, in feet/hr. I’m sure it was requested by Sleepstream. Only problem with that is grade in whole numbers, so it can be a bit off at higher speeds.

  64. Hi David-

    RE: IE issue trying to get update

    Thanks for the details, it’s always good to document it somewhere. One other place you may want to try posting is the Garmin Forums, as lots of folks look there for troubleshooting. Thanks for droping by!

    Hi Ollie-

    RE: Which Garmin to get

    Honestly, if you plan to run, then I’d suggest either the Forerunner 305 or the 310XT. They both do cycling quite well, and can also easily crossover to running. Look at the 310XT if you need Power Meter support, otherwise the cheaper 305 will do quite well. I use both for skiing, so no issues there. I’ve also used the Edge 500 for skiing as well, and again, no problems there at all.

    Hi Dessa-

    I noticed you said two issues that made it unusable, however in both cases, I just wanted to let you know you can actually do both of those.

    RE: Lap History, Button Presses and Garmin Pickup rate

    1) Lap History: To access this on the Edge 500, simply go to: Activities > View More > View Laps. From there you can scroll through each lap and see all the Averages for each lap.

    2) Buttons/Tones: As I noted in the review, I agree the buttons can sometimes be hard to press. Regarding the audio feedback, there is actually audio feedback for page changes. You can turn this on/off under Settings > System > Tones.

    3) Pickup Rate: I’ve been following your thread on the Wattage Forums about this. While the answers from all players are a bit unclear, it appears that Jim from Quarq has just stepped in and noted that an average can still be displayed. Based on the thread as of 2/1/10 at 12:26AM, I don’t think there’s honestly enough information from the right players (Garmin, Quarq) to really understand how this is handled at the sub-1s level. Just my two cents though.

  65. On laps, it doesn’t work during the ride. That is it is not showing current workout in history UNTIL it’s downloaded to computer! Weird, I know.

    Thanks for the sound tip, I’ll try. Still buttons are useless. DId you try to press it in TT after the start?

  66. Hi Desa,

    As noted, the buttons are indeed tough, I’ve tried hitting them during some pretty tough intervals and it’s always a bit tricky, but I have gotten better at it.

    One idea for the TT is to set Auto Pause as on. This way it’ll start as soon as your start rolling, and stop when you stop. Given in you’re TT you’re highly unlikely to stop, it won’t mess up your power numbers in TP/WKO+ (or anywhere else for that matter). In this situation, you are merely using the feature to trigger a start and stop (which is what you want anyways).

  67. On the tones, both tones are on for me. I guess I just cannot hear it during ride like with 705.
    Do a small experiment yourself, click on, check sound. Now put into computer mount, do it again. Sound is like 3 times lower, not even counting that you are much further from computer when you are riding and it there is ambient moving noise. Apparently it is not as noticeable with auto stop, since you are stopped and there is less noise. Just a poor design issue I guess.

    ( Yes, I use auto stop, but then I just go and delete all times I stopped manually in WKO+. Why no such problem with SRM? It handles stops just fine).

    good advice for TT,I’ve actually tested this the other day. Too bad you won’t be able to see your power for the effort afterwards until you connect your computer! (you know with warmup before and cooldown)

    I’m gonna test Joule next. 500 is disappointment for me. I hope f/w upgrades will fix at least some issues down the road. But not buttons. There is reason why SRM and Powertap have buttons on top.

  68. The reason the SRM handles auto-stops ‘better’ than the Garmin is due to the fact that the Garmin is a GPS device and the SRM is not. When you look at the underlying file format structure of the Edge 500, it records the exact timestamp of every data point. So instead of recording a simple linear list, it actually timestamps every single power number, heart rate reading, etc… So in effect, the gaps are simply because in real life there are gaps. In the SRM’s case, it’s just like a stop-watch, thus the gaps are invisible.

    In theory WKO3.0 handles this a bit better.

    I’m sure you’ve played around with it – but the wattage number I use during rides is Avg Wattage. That way I can see both for the current lap, and the last lap the average wattage, just add it as a data field. This would allow you to easily see your overall ride wattages (or any other average, such as HR/Speed/etc…) when the ride is over, before you’ve downloaded it.

    Also, you can ‘end’ a ride by simply just holding reset down for three seconds.

  69. Thanks, I guess that will work for TT:
    Make sure autostart on,
    Just before take off, press lap, After finish press lap again. Then eventually, reset unit again. Then you can see final lap power/time.

    It will be good to test if ANT+ antenna is improved on 500. 705 had one under lap button, and when in aerobars it is blocked, so Garmin looses signal from Quarq time to time. That is only on TT setup for virtually all my teammates with Garmin/Quarq. It will be good to see if it was addressed! Need to get my TT bike outside!

  70. Anonymous

    I sent a note to Garmin support regarding the possibility of them adding advanced workout support to the Edge 500 firmware and their response was “no”. They also stated that this feature was not planned to be added to the Edge 500 in the future.

    I guess I’m going to have to stick with my Edg 705.

  71. thanks for this extensive review!! It has helped me tremendously deciding to go for the purchase of the Edge 500! regards, David, The Netherlands

  72. Thanks for an enjoyable and comprehensive review of the Garmin Edge 500. I’m on the verge of ordering one for myself. Looking forward to it. 🙂

  73. Hi Anon-

    RE: Workout support in Edge 500

    Hmm, I’m not sure why they’ve said that. My information is direct from the Engineers via the Garmin PR rep (Jake). I can double-check with him again this week as I have a few outstanding questions to him anyways…

    Thanks all!

  74. Anonymous

    Thanks for the extensive review!
    One question for you.
    Will the 500(or 705) pull cadence info from a powertap or does it need the Garmin cadence accessory?

  75. Hi Anon-

    RE: Cadence from PT

    Yup, the Edge 500 will pickup the cadence from the power tap without any issue. No need to utilize the Garmin sensor (other than improved accuracy, as the PT hub cadence is more of a mathematical assumption than an exact known).

  76. Anonymous

    Thanks for the cadence info.

    Another question…

    I have never trained using anything quite as complex as one of these new gizmos so I am really thinking from scratch here.
    Re the difficulty in tapping the buttons.
    For what reasons do you need to tap these buttons while riding?

    I understand one needs to start and stop the unit’s timer to begin recording data but what other reasons would a rider have for pushing a button other than to see data mid ride?
    Start and stop a lap?
    Clear a waypoint?

    I can imagine it is difficult to start a flying lap with these buttons so what else might I need to push a button for while training and/or racing?
    T again IA

  77. Anonymous

    DC Rainmaker

    Massive thank you! You are a breath of fresh air after a long winter! Superb objective and in depth comprehensive, yikes!


  78. Hi Anon-

    RE: Reasons to hit buttons

    For me, the two biggest reasons are to hit a lap, and to stop/start. In addition, with the data pages I have different ones for different types of riding. So I tend to configure one page for ‘the now’, which shows stuff like 3s and 30s power, HR, cadence, etc… Whereas I have another page that’s a bit more historical, showing me my last lap avg pwr, avg ride power, etc…

  79. Anonymous

    I have been trying to download the new software update to my Garmin 500 and keep getting an error message. It then sits at 50% complete until I hit cancel. Any idea what the issue is



  80. For triathlons, if cost were not an issue, might not the best solution be the combination of an Edge 500 for the bike and a Forerunner 305 for the run? (Given the current the lack of power averaging on the 310XT.)

    If one used the Edge 500 and Forerunner 305 for a Tri, how would each be configured?

    According to Garmin ” [power averaging] could be added in a SW update. No promises, but it’s on their [tech department’s] radar now.”

    I have a Quarq Cinqo coming in the next few weeks for my Tri Bike. So I need a “power head unit” and soon. And I am hesitant to gamble an eventual power average SW update for the 310XT.

    Seems like the 305/500 combination would be an advantage of simplicity and time saved in T2. Certainly average power from the Edge 500 is better for monitoring power on the bike. I hate trying to do “in-head averages” of instantaneous power numbers. Seems like there are better things to do in the bike leg of Tri. [I could be wrong here as well. It may be that at near constant power output ,like in a TT, that the Quarq power numbers don’t jump around all that much on the 310XT and it would be adequate for the bike leg of a Tri.]

    Even if the 310XT eventually got power averaging:

    For T2 I am a bit leery of how complicated it would be, and how much time would be lost to take the 310XT off the bike, mount it on my wrist and configure it for a running display, e.g. going from MPH speed, to min/mile pace, etc.

    Also, given the bulky 310XT, waterproof seems an irrelevant feature for any wetsuit legal Tri swim.

    Thanks, another DC based Triathlete

  81. Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the great review.. I am a Powertap owner and was looking at a Joule 2.0, but the price, release date changes, and overall size of the unit are turning me off.. plus once I read your review and learned interval programming was going to be added I really see the plus side of the 500 unit.
    On a sidenote, I am curious about the lap function. I would be using it for interval training. I assume I would hit Lap, it would start, and then I have whatever functions I want to monitor on a second page which I’ll call it custom interval page.. once my interval time has elapsed, I just press whatever button to stop the lap.. What I am curious about is once you stop the current lap, does the data disappear immediately, or do you get a chance to review the data.. so after I do a 3 minute interval, can I analyze that data before starting the next one, or does it disappear once the lap is stopped?
    Also can you scan back through previous laps, or is this download to computer function only?

    Thanks for your time!!

  82. Anonymous

    Re your Firmware issue.

    Check the Garmin forums here…

    link to forums.garmin.com

    Seems it’s a common problem.

  83. Anonymous

    Hey mate,

    Thanks for the detailed review. Just wondering if you can use the strap (excluding the transmitter) of a Polar HRM with the premium Garmin transmitter. If so, I can use the Garmin during the bike portion (with the power meter cranks) and the polar hrm watch for the swim and run course by just slapping on a different transmitter during transition. Thanks.

  84. I have an Edge 305 and a ROX 9.0. One advantage of the 9.0 is that the heart rate indication responds more quickly. On the 305 it seems to have a 20-30 second delay, whereas the 9.0 seems to respond immediately. How about the 500? I hope the folks at Garmin took the delay out.

  85. Hi All – Sorry for the delay, been a busy last few days.

    Hi DCAD-

    RE: Best Combination for Tri’s

    I think for a tri a combination of the 310XT and Edge 500 is best. But if budget is a factor, then the FR305 and Edge 500 makes just as great of a pair. The primary advantage of the 310XT in this situation is as a backup for the bike (power meter), and just not having to worry about water as much.

    RE: Power Averaging in 310XT

    I’d love to see it – please continue to push Garmin on this front.

    RE: 310XT on the swim

    Personally, I wouldn’t wear mine normally in a race situation, just too many ways things can go wrong.

    RE: 310XT in transition

    If you use the quick mount…it’s quick. I typically do it pre-transition, about a mile out while still on the bike. Basically lock down the hatches.

    Hi Campy!

    RE: Lap Functions

    You can use the ‘last lap’ data field to show the last lap – this is what I use on my power meter screen – sorta a historical screen that I have that shows my last lap avg power, last lap avg pace, etc… Pretty useful for me. As for scanning through previous laps, yup – this is all recorded and easily viewable in most computer applications.

    Hi Anon!

    RE: The Polar straps ones do not work the Garmin’s, they use different frequencies and protocals. Sorry!

    Hi Leslie!

    RE: Edge 500 HR strap response rate

    Mine is virtually immediately. Well, as immediately as it takes my HR to catch up anyways. But within a second or so it starts rising – reasonable really.

    Thanks all for the comments!

  86. If the Garmin 500 can pull cadence from the PowerTap, will it also pull speed (e.g., when in a tunnel and no GPS signal avail) the way it would from the Garmin cadence/speed sensor?

    Looking to avoid buying/mounting the chainstay sensor if possible….

  87. Anonymous

    Using HR Strap while raining…

    Any issues, tips, on using HR when rain suddenly pours?

    thanks for the great review…

  88. Edge 500 features are incredible. Its very unique device. The GPRS functionality is useful.

  89. U.B.

    Just posted this on the Garmin Edge 500 forum, but this post seems to be getting a lot of viewers:

    Is anyone else getting remarkably poor elevation data from their Edge 500?

    I’ve had mine for just a few weeks. The first couple of rides I went on had great results. Out-and-back rides showed great mirror images in the elevation profile and I returned to nearly the correct start elevation. Recently, though, I’ve started getting very bad results… 300 to 400-foot-high hills barely showing up, large drifts in elevation over the course of a one-hour ride (end elevation can be 300-400 feet higher than start), sudden 100-foot changes in elevation while on flat ground, etc.

    I’ve started turning it on in my car while commuting to work (25 miles, 30 minutes) and also had poor results. It starts off calibrated to my home or work elevation and can end up 300 feet off at the other end. When I get home, it will read 360+ feet for over an hour (should be ~60 ft). If I then reboot the unit (but not push the start button) it will start up around 360+ ft and then slowly drift down to the correct elevation over an hour or more. It is as if the altimeter can work properly and autocalibrate, but not while a route is being recorded. If I boot the unit at my home and start a route, it self-calibrates to 60 feet. It will then stay within 10 feet of 60 for at least an hour or two. But once I start moving and return to that spot, it will almost always be too-high by a large amount.

    Looking at the data after a ride/drive, it looks like the ascents are recording approx. accurate elevation changes, but the descents are not large enough. Thus the overall elevation drifts higher on a rolling course.

    Some notes:
    [*]I have the Edge 500 set to calibrate to my home (60 ft) or work (360 ft) elevation at the start of every route.
    [*]I have checked weather websites after seeing these poor results to confirm that there were no significant changes in atmospheric pressure during the duration of the route.
    [*]The unit is only a couple of weeks old and has never been in the rain.

    I’ve had other barometric altimeters (non-GPS) on bike computers and never had performance this bad. In theory, the barometric altimeter plus GPS [B]should[/B] be able to be much [B]better[/B] than the others, but sadly, this is not the case. My VDO bike computer would always return to nearly the correct start elevation after many-hour rides and also did fine when driving to/from work. Something is most definitely wrong with the Edge 500.

    Are others having results like this? Does anyone know more specifics of how the GPS calibrates the altimeter? For instance, if you self-calibrate at the beginning of a route, does it still use the GPS to auto-calibrate during the ride? Is there any way to turn off the GPS autocalibration?

    If nobody else has results like this, then maybe I just have a dud and will need to try to get a replacement.

  90. Hi ARC-

    RE: Speed from PowerTap hub

    I just checked on this, and found a post in the forums where someone posts a reponse from Garmin on exactly this. While this is for the Edge 705, I can’t imagine it would differ for the Edge 500. In short, yes, it will use the PT hub’s speed.

    link to forums.garmin.com

    Hi Anon-

    RE: HR Strap while raining

    No issues at all here, in fact, the extra water will generally improve contact and make it work better. 😉

    Hi UB-

    RE: Elevation data

    The key difference here (I mentioned it one of the earlier comments) is that the Edge 500 (like the 705) uses barometric altimeter. One item that can impact the elevation data from showing up correctly is if the back ports are blocked. I’d highly recommend double-checking that there is nothing blocked on the back. One other item you can do is set on the Edge 500 an known elevation point to give it a calibration point.

    The only time I’ve seen issues like this was when I had the little holes blocked with tape, and in that case, I was in the mountains and the elevation was all dorked up.

  91. U.B.

    Yes, my ports are clear (unit is basically new) and I’m autocalibrating to my home or work elevation at the start of all routes. I’ve had other barometric altimeters before (which did NOT have GPS also) and they outperformed this one and never had the type of errors I’ve seen with the Garmin. I’m starting to wonder if there is a software issue that causes problems while it is trying to autocalibrate the altimeter using the GPS. I believe that it always does this, even if you manually set a start elevation. I’ve been driving to/from work this week with the Garmin turned on in my car. It does a much better job if it is NOT recording a route. I.e., if I record a route I usually get a large drift in elevation at the end of my 25-mile drive. If I just leave it on but not recording, the elevation is perfect at the other end.

    It’s not all bad, though. I went on a 45-mile ride on Saturday and had extremely good results. If it worked that well all the time I’d be extremely happy.

    I’ll keep playing with it and report back. The altimeter + GPS *should* be able to be very, very accurate if implemented correctly. I’m hoping a future software update improves the performance.

  92. Anonymous

    Really a great review right there! 😀


  93. Rainmaker,

    This review is a man among boys, so to speak. Nice work!

    Question… I’m wondering if the quarter turn mount system caused you any trouble in terms of interference with other stuff on your bike. Were you limited in any significant way in putting it exactly where you wanted it due to the need to keep some clearance around it for the quarter turn?


  94. All – Note that as of today (Feb 23rd, 2010) the workout feature has been added to the Edge 500. You can get the firmware update here:

    link to www8.garmin.com

    (A bunch of other updates/fixes are added too)

    Onto questions….

    Hi U.B.-

    RE: Elevation correction using GPS

    Check out the change in the firmware above, fixes a bunch of issues related to detection of altimeter based on known GPS points. Though, I would agree I’m not sure why you’re seeing such fluctuations.

    Hi Steve-

    RE: Quart-turn mount limitations

    I haven’t seen any issues yet in terms of where I would mount the mount, for me it works pretty much everywhere I’ve stuck it. Now, I did just see the first failure report (blog post) I’ve seen on the mount – though now how I would of expected. The Edge unit itself had the small plastic clip actually snap, and sent it flying. So really not a failure of the mount per se, but the Edge. The unit survived, but Garmin is replacing. Don’t have the link handy at the moment…

    Thanks all!

  95. Anonymous

    Hi rainmaker,
    I’m thinking about purchasing an edge 500 but am not currently using a power device. Do you think that it’s still worth purchasing? Thanks in advance

  96. Anonymous

    You state that the 500 does not have the Virtual Partner feature. The instructions indicate that it does. Is it not working on your unit?

  97. Anonymous

    Wonderful review !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  98. Hi!
    This is my first time on your site – awesome job on the Edge 500 review. My question is this (sorry if I missed it): can I use the cadence sensor and heart strap from my Egde 305 or do I need to get the whole 500 bundle? Thanks.

  99. Giant dk

    First of all, thanks for a great review. I actually think it is much more useful than the manual.

    However, I have a question I hope you can answer. After I’ve updated with the new firmware I see an option number 4 in the menu where the 3 data fields are set.

    Do you have any idea what this setting is used for?

  100. Hi Anon-

    RE: Edge 500 w/o power meter

    Yes, I think it’s worthwhile, but it depends on what you do most. If you’re a triathlete, then get the 310XT instead (since you don’t have a PM). If you’re a cyclist, then the Edge 500 has the advantage of being tiny and lightweight.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Virtual Partner Feature

    The VP feature listed in the manual is only applicable on ‘courses’, and is a fair bit different than the normal Virtual Partner on all other Garmin fitness devices. On the courses one, you have to be on a set course, whereas in a true VP feature you can enable it whenever you want and for as long as you’d like at any given pace you’d like. Just more flexibility really.

    Hi Blackberry-

    RE: 305 HR/Cadence compatibility

    Yes, those are compatible with the Edge 500, so you’re good to go there!

    Hi Giant DK-

    RE: New firmware ‘Option 4’

    I don’t see an ‘Option 4’, but I do see a new option titled ‘Workouts’. The Garmin folks confirmed today on their forums that it’s an additional custom screen that you can display while in workout mode. Pretty useful I think. Here’s the thread:

    link to forums.garmin.com

  101. Did you actually confirm the speed sensor works indoors when you’re not moving? I saw a comment somewhere saying this was not the case.

  102. Sabine

    Amazing review! I really appreciate work like this.
    Thanks a lot, it was very helpful!

  103. Hi Dubbayoo-

    RE: Speed sensor indoors

    Yup – I use it every other day – just 12 hours ago being the most recent example. If their sensor isn’t working indoors the magnets might not be properly aligned, or the sensor isn’t enabled. Even if the sensor wasn’t correctly calibrated – it would still display speed/distance using the default wheel size value. Hope this helps!

  104. Great blog and reviews…
    The update that allows to upload exercises has been released by Garmin.
    So far so good…

  105. Anonymous

    quick question
    Can one measure resting heart rate with the edge 500 straight out of bed like with a mio watch?

  106. Hi Anon-

    RE: Resting Heart Rate Readings

    Yup, I use the Edge 500 some mornings for exactly that (just a matter of which Garmin is on my bedstand really). The only thing to keep in mind is that if you have the auto-shutoff enabled, after the time has elapsed it will give you a 10 second warning and then shut off. Not a big deal generally…as long as you don’t accidentally fall asleep while getting your RHR. Not that I would do anything like that…. 😉

  107. Hi Rainmaker

    Amazing review, it actually made me buy the Edge 500. I do have an issue when doing intervals, though, and one of your own comments to the review has confused me. You refer to “Last lap”-fields, but I don’t believe there are any last lap-related fields for power available? Can’t find them anyway (firmware 2.1 and 2.2).

    Also, do you have any inside information about plans for changes re. the way History / Activities are committed to “disk” ( see link to forums.garmin.com )? I somehow suspect that the 500 doesn’t have sufficient cpu-power to be able to do this, but it would be nice…

    Kind regards

  108. Brilliant. I posted a link to it on Slowtwitch,.

  109. jamie

    Thanks for the review. I just brought home my new 500 paired with a new Quarq Cinco power meter! I also have the 310xt watch which i have been using for a while. Do you find that you use the watch as well as the 500 on the bike? When you are on the trainer do you have to overide the GPS function in the 500 or is it automatic? When you use your 310xt with a footpod do you have to overide GPS or is that automatic? Which is more accurate on both running and biking, foot pod vs. GPS or cadence / speed sensor vs. GPS? I have so many questions – it is technical overload with my new devices! Any explanations or tips appreciated!! jamie@beelineimage.com

  110. Hi DCR

    Can you post what product numbers are HR and cadence sensors included with Edge 500? Because I already own Garmin Colorado 300 and would like to use those sensors from Edge 500 with my Colorado – Colorado needs:
    010-10644-00 Cadence sensor
    010-10997-00 HR sensor


  111. Anonymous

    Is it possible to use Edge 500 for ocassional running? Just to record HR data, speed and distance? What can I see on Edge 500 during running? Only speed in MPH/KPH? Or HR, time too?

  112. Hi Rainmaker.

    Thank you for your thorough review and helpful explainations. I’ve ordred the 500 yeasterday and will come back to this site when I recive the item and start to plunder…

    🙂 Vegard

  113. Hi DMK-

    RE: Last Lap Pwr Fields:

    Sorry, I must have been thinking of the 705 on Last Lap Pwr fields. I’m pretty sure that has (or at least had it). I’ll have to check when I get back to DC. I just checked my 500 and you’re correct, only Max/Lap/Avg/30s/3s – no last lap.

    RE: Change in disk commits

    I’m not aware of any changes pending there. 🙁

    Hi Jamie-

    RE: 500 vs 310XT

    I find that I just use the 500 on the bike (or 705 in some cases) and don’t bother with the 310XT unless I’m low on battery or something.

    RE: GPS on trainer

    When on the trainer I always shut off the GPS (on both 500 or 310XT) as it will interfer with some sports programs ability to read the data points. Though you don’t have to shut it off to get correct readings in the major apps out there (GC, GTC, TP).

    RE: Accuracy

    On running, I’d go with GPS over foot pod. With the bike, I’d go with speed sensor over GPS simply because it’s measuring an exact distance every revolution.

    Hi CPU-

    RE: Cadenence Sensors

    The sensors you listed:

    010-10644-00 = GSC10
    010-10997-00 = Classic HR monitor

    …are both ANT+ compatible and will work with all Garmin devices. You’re good to go!

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Using Edge 500 for occasional running

    Yes. In the review I include some examples of using it while running. The limitations you noted are correct though – which is that MPH and KPH are the only speeds offered. You can get HR, time though – but no cadence.

    Thanks all! Enjoy your weekends!

  114. CHnuschti

    Impressive review, thanks.

    As for the con “Hard to read screen due to glare” I suggest using some transparent display protection films (3M etc.) as used for cellphones etc.. Lot of types available too, also some specially designed for anti reflection. Suggested anyway to protect the displays from scratches etc.. I’m confident you can solve the problem this way while keeping the readability of the display.
    Using one on my Edge 305, visibility is almost fully preserved.

  115. I am not having success in getting the lap button to work. I press it during a workout. The unit beeps and I think that have set a lap. But when I get back and download the data it is all one workout with no splits.

    I even tried holding the lap button until it beeps a second time. No success.

    BTW I assume that you can only reset the unit with the “lap button” when it is stopped. Right?

    Thanks, another DC based Triathlete

    And I do have the Auto Lap set to OFF.

    Am I doing something wrong?

  116. Hi Chnuschti-

    RE: Screen glare

    Yup, it’s on my list of things to pickup next time I’m at Staples – a few other folks have suggested it as well.

    Hi DCAD-

    RE: Splits

    1) When you press it, does it show you the split time/lap and beep?

    2) Which software are you using? (Garmin Connect, Garmin Training Center, Sport Tracks, Training Peaks, WKO, something else?)

  117. thanks for the review, especially the waypoint mapping / map upload portion, that functionality was a big question mark since its not in garmins marketing.

    bought some things from the amazon link

    fellow DCer, drop me a line if youre for a group to ride mtb.

  118. Hi DC Rainmaker

    I’ve found that some shop in my country (Poland) uses your photos of Edge 500 -> link to allegro.pl Did they asked you for permission of using your photos?

  119. Hi CPU-

    RE: Use of my review photos

    No, I have not given them permission to use the photos and place their own copyright on them. Too bad, sad panda. 🙁

  120. By far, this is the best damned review i have come across. Well done, man!

  121. DCR: I’ve wrote to them about copyrights – they told me that owner of photos have to inform about his copyrights and request to remove those photos of yours from this auctions – if you want to do this I can help you – just let me know if you want to solve this illegal copying.

  122. Hej,

    Thanks for a most comprehensive review on the basis of which i bought garmin edge 500!

    Now I am proud to be the owner of the most buggy device in the history of Garmin!

    And all of this is thank to you!

    Freezes, lost data, blank screens, hardware faults.. etc!
    My 500 has been in the service for three times… in the last two weeks!

    I was surprised for a certain time but a quick search on the web showed that I am not the only one!

    You should have checked the forums! Or are you on tha Garmin pay list!
    Way to go!

    Berst regards Marko

  123. Hi Marko-

    RE: Slew of items

    Thanks for writing. As you probably read, the unit I reviewed did have issues – which I noted in my review quite a few times. In fact, some of the exact same issues you’ve noted. Checking the forums wasn’t exactly an option for me – given I had the unit BEFORE it was available to the general public. However, even since then – I’ve been using the forums just like everyone else to voice my concerns for unstable software issues. Keep in mind there have been three different Edge 500 software releases since I’ve written this just three months ago. Some releases have fixes issues, others have introduced new issues. For me, while the latest release has introduced new features, it’s also introduced new issues for me (including now common freeze-ups). While many folks are lucky to never see issues, some folks do see issues – and I’m one of them just like you.

    I’m not on Garmin’s payroll (and based on events of late, I’d likely just get layed off anyways…) – I write what I see – the good and the bad. But I can’t see everything – nobody can. If people could, then software would be flawless and units would never have to be sent back.

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having issues – hopefully they’ll be able to sort it out for you…perhaps 3rd time is indeed the charm.


  124. Anonymous


    You did a great job in the review and no one can fault you for any of the bugs. You didn’t tell Marko to buy the 500. It was his choice and maybe he should have done more research on the unit and not just based it on one source. Also most of the time people are only going to complain about their issues with items on forums. So it makes the Garmin Edge 500 look worse than it really is. Consider the total number Garmin Edge 500 owners to the ones who actually submit to the forums. DCR you are actually the minority willing to take your time to give an in-depth review of the unit. So in that sense, thank you.


  125. Anonymous

    Hi Rainmaker
    Thanks for your excellent review of this product. Having read your review and some glowing comments elsewhere about the device, I decided to buy an Edge 500 as a replacement for an Edge 305, which had become frustratingly unreliable (it spontaneously turned itself off during rides). Out of the box the 500 looks a brilliant little device, with lots of big improvements over the Edge 305 such as the mounting system. It worked fine for my first 4 outings. However, on the fifth ride, the display froze and the buttons became unresponsive after I had pressed the lap button for the first time. I got the device going again by pressing 3 buttons simultaneously, and it appeared to be working fine – providing lap readouts etc. When I got home I reset it, and commenced uploading the activity to Garmin Connect. Whereupon I was given an error message “Some activities failed to load…” “One of your files was not accepted by the system”. I tried a manual upload without success. I looked at the data on the device for that activity and there is some there, but it is not entirely correct. The device is running the latest version of the software, so that should be ok. So disappointing – as I say, a great device but if you can’t rely on it for, say, your big ride, I’m afraid that renders it pretty useless. But that’s not your fault as a reviewer – I appreciate the enormous effort you’ve put into providing an honest, fair and informative review.



  126. Gareth Harries UK

    This has been the most useful article I have found on the net after our units arrived. The main issue I have found is that the pedal magnet is too far from the sensor to receive information. The manuals – quick start, and more comprehensive, are pretty poor in respect of general installation and use. Have you had to place something beneath your pedal magnet to get it to work ?
    Do you not fancy a job at Garmin telling them how to provide user information ?

  127. Nick

    Hi Rainmaker, greetings from Melbourne Australia. Thanks for your review – in fact it was one of the reasons I purchased a 500 yesterday with a speed/cadence sensor etc… A question for you – what is the default for measuring speed/distance? Is it the sensor, or the GPS? Do I need to manually select the sensor if that is what I want to use? Thanks in advance, Nick

  128. THANKS for great review – never used GPS on my bike, so newby Q: does it store more than one ride,or do you HAVE to slinc up/sync with the desktop after each ride?
    thanks again for all the info.

  129. Great review! So thorough I didn’t want to stop reading even though I had to leave. I currently use the CatEye V3c but wanted to start getting my GPS points automatically instead of drawing them out on gmap-pedometer or w/ the new Google Bicycle Routes.

    I’m definitely thinking of grabbing this device ASAP and setting it up right away. Thanks again for a great review!

  130. Hi Gareth-

    RE: Pedal Magnet

    You should be able to adjust the little arm outbound to get closer to the sensor. I barely have to move my little arm to get it within reach – but it will reach outwards close to an inch. I kinda rotate mine outwards towards the crank, and then pull up the arm for the wheeel sensor

    RE: Jobs writing user documentation

    I think I’m good there…I have enough of a fill writing documentation in my day job. 😉

    Hi Nick-

    RE: Default measuring speed

    I defer to the mother post for how this is done:

    Speed: Power Meter > GSC10 > GPS
    Distance: Power Meter > GSC10 > GPS
    Cadence: GSC10 > Power Meter
    link to forums.garmin.com

    Hi Steven-

    RE: Multiple rides

    You can store a TON Of rides. Hundreds I’d guess. I’ve got probably 60 or so rides now and use only a fraction of the space on it. You don’t need to talk to a computer between rides.

    Hi Elijah-

    RE: Routes

    You may want to check out this that I wrote last week on how to do a bit of that and then import it into the Edge 500:

    link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

    Thanks all!

  131. Anonymous

    Hi Ray! Truly a great in depth review.

    My question is: Can you plug your Edge 500 in your laptop and use it has on board type GPS?



  132. DaveS

    Great review, helped me make up my mind
    However I am having problems downloading courses to the Device
    I have created courses in a number of route mapping applications including mapmyride and successfully imported the .tcx file into the GTC. I cannot send them to the Edge though. I get an error message that there is a problem communicating with the device. I know it is connected because I can receive data the other way from the device to the GTC
    I do have a forerunner 50 on the same profile
    Any ideas?

  133. Your reviews are amazing. Thanks for all of the helpful info! I am trying to choose between the Edge 305 and 500 as a gift for my husband and I’m confused about the differences in terms of “maps” between the 305 and 500. Do you know if the 305 has more features in terms of being able to download routes or courses to follow? And does the 305 have a compass (I believe you said that the 500 doesn’t)? I’m also wondering if the Forerunner 310XT has any advantages over the Edge 305/500 strictly in terms of cycling features. I’d appreciate any help you can offer!

  134. Do screen protectors help on the 500? If so, what brand(s) is recommended.

  135. Great review! Do you know if there are different country versions? I live in the US but found a good deal in the UK.


  136. Great review. Very thorough. I am setting up my Edge 500 right now and I was curious what data fields you have on each of your three screens? Readers, feel free to chime in too.

  137. Hi,
    I just wanted to tell you that this is one of the best reviews of any product I’ve ever seen. Awesome job!

  138. Hi Anon/Simpo-

    RE: Plugging 500 in as ‘navigational’ GPS

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t support that. Though, there are some 3rd party apps that have had limited success in the past with other Garmin fitness watches, but I haven’t installed/played with them in a while.

    Hi Dave-

    RE: Course Creation

    Try using .crs files instead, they’ll work better. Here’s my handy guide for doing just that. Do make sure in GTC that the Edge 500 is selected, and not the FR50.

    link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

    Hi Wacomme-

    RE: Screen Protectors

    I haven’t tried any yet myself, but a lot of folks have found that standard iPod/iPhone ones work pretty well with a pair of scissors.

    Hi Skiierx-

    RE: Country Versions

    I’m not aware of different versions, as the version I had (US) came with the plugs for the UK as well. See the first few pictures in the unboxing section for plug confirmation.

    Hi Sygyzy-

    RE: Data Fields

    For me I typically use two major screens:

    Screen 1 (Main): Lap Time, Lap Distance, 3s Power, 30s Power, HR, Cadence, Grade, Speed
    Screen 2 (Historical focused): Last Lap time, Lap Power Avg, Ride Pwr Avg, Overall Distance, Overall Time, HR

    Hi Mark-

    Thanks for reading, and commenting!

  139. I have both a 305 and a 500. For the gal not knowing which to get for her husband’s birthday: Definitely the 500. It’s basically newer technology.

    I’m not sure if this was mentioned this extensive review, but there is a data field in the 500 that’s not in the 305: Vertical speed, i.e. the rate of ascen. I find that handy.

    The total ascent in the 500 is more accruate than in the 305. They must have refined the software to filter out noise. Maybe you mentioned that too.

    I use both the 500 and 305 when I go out. Being the geek that I am, I subscribe to the “aircraft cockpit” philosophy of bike computering.

  140. hi, what extra i need to buy for second bike? If i read review properly there is just handlebar holder for second bike in 500 bundle version.

    What about magnet, speed sensor, cadence sensor, cadence magnet? All this i need to extra buy?

    Thanks. Charles

  141. Bonachi

    Brilliant review Rainmaker, thanks.

    Got the 500 two weeks ago and it’s excellent, no problems with it at all. The latest update to Garmin Connect provides me with everything I need to know for now and I’ve found V2.2 & V2.3 unit firmware to be problem free.


    You need the GSC-10 cadence sensor for a second bike. The cadence sensor kit comes with a crank and wheel magnets.


  142. bonachi: thank you, so there are two speed sensors and two front wheel magnets for measuring speed on two bikes in package?

    that would be enough and cadence set for second bike i can buy later 🙂

  143. Bonachi


    OK, firstly there are a few retail versions of the Edge 500.

    One is the Edge 500 itself which comes with the cadence & heart rate monitor (SKU 010-00829-01). The other includes just the Edge 500 (SKU 010-00829-00). Both versions come with two handlebar mounts for the Edge 500 unit itself.

    Speed/distance is provided by the GPS so you get that with both versions, but as RM mentioned in his review, if you lose GPS signal then this data will be omitted. So moving the Edge 500 between two bikes will give you speed/distance on both providing you have GPS reception.

    Cadence requires the GSC-10. If you want cadence on a second bike then you need to buy this additional sensor (this is assuming you bought the 010-00829-01 version and are using the GSC-10 included with that on your first bike). The GSC-10 uses one magnet on the crank (cadence) and a second on the rear wheel spoke (distance/speed).

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers, Bonachi

  144. bonachi: thank you very much! my mistake all time was that i thought there are two sensors (one for speed/distance, one for cadence). This solution i have in my currenct HAC4 computer from Ciclosport.

    So thats great, that evolution continues and one sensor is enough! 🙂

    Last question, is there option in settings to choose language? I mean if i buy Edge for example on Ebay with German language, whether i can switch to English language or install additional languages (as im not German and im not English native)?

    Kind Regards,


  145. Bonachi


    On my UK purchased unit there are many language options: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Portugese, Dutch, Finnish, Polish, Angličtina?, Magyar (Hungarian), Croatian, Greek, Slovenian, Slovakian, Russian. Quite a choice!

    You are correct, there is just one sensor mounted on the chainstay, it reads both the crank (cadence) and wheel (speed/distance) magnets to provide data to the Edge 500 wirelessly.

    Cheers, Bonachi

  146. Hi Leslie-

    RE: Ascent & Vertical Speed

    Indeed, those are great numbers to have – especially if you’re doing ‘mountain stages’. I know I spend a fair bit of time out in the mountains, and love being able to see ascent numbers.

    Hi Karel-

    RE: Second bike sensors

    As noted above by Bonachi, all you’ll need is the extra cadence/speed sensor (about $40, see link above). That’s it! The Edge 500 comes with two mounts, if you need additional mounts, they are $10 for two (link also above).

    My general suggestion on speed/cadence sensors is to simply put one unit on every bike I have. That way I never have an issue. At $40, they aren’t too expensive and I have tons of flexibility whether it’s indoors on a trainer, or out on the open road.

    Hi Bonachi-

    RE: Firmware

    Yup, I’m liking firmware 2.3 so far, a few rides in since Wednesday’s release, and so far it’s problem free! Tomorrow’s my longer ride, so if I can go until then without issues, I’m calling it a success!

    Oh, and thanks for helping out Karel above on all the questions! I was busy today running, swimming and doing years worth of cleaning around the house (crazy amounts of stuff left the attic today!).


  147. few more ions coming:

    1. whats the interval for the smart recording? 5sec? I found in manual only that with power meter it is 1sec, but i dont plan use it with power meter at start

    2. This manual link to www8.garmin.com is all i get in package or there is any more detailed manual? This one is not too much detailed for me, but well, at least i found you review 🙂

    3. After data recorded, can i in any software make and export summary to the picture (jpeg, gif, or so) with distance and elevation and summary info about ride? Please check link below, taken from my current HAC4 computer.

    link to dl.dropbox.com

    So question is simple, is there software making nice summary graphs with tons of editing options incl. colour, resolution and so? Im asking because all graphs i saw in reviews didnt looked so “attractive” 🙂

    Kind regards,


  148. Hey Karel

    RE: Smart Recording

    Smart Recording doesn’t have a set interval, it’s a algorithm that varies based on many different factors. Sometimes it’s 1s, and sometimes it’s 4s.

    RE: Manual

    Nope, that’s it. My review is the most detailed manual you’ll find to date. 🙂

    RE: Software options

    Check out Sport Tracks (per above), it’ll allow you to create exactly those graps and tweak the colors too.

  149. Joris

    Hello Rainmaker,

    thanks very much for making this excellent review. I really trust your opinion on the device especially when I see all the devices you used in the past. Thinking of purchasing one in the near future.

    keep up the good work & training,
    Joris, The Netherlands

  150. RE: Pedal magnet

    Hey Gareth,,I have the same issues,,did you figured out the fix? I tried Rainmaker advise but I created another problem,the spoke magnet this time is too close to the sensor arm and already max to the adjustment,I guess my curved chainstay causing this issues.(Fuji Team carbon Frame),rainmaker please help me Im kind of hopeless here..Thanks

  151. I’ve found that the Edge 500 on my bike (Look 566) with the curved chainstays always has difficulty with the pedal magnet triggering the cadence sensor. Since it’s mounted with zipties, I have to move it back and forth to get it to register. This is annoying because cadence isn’t even registered until you start the timer so you don’t realize there’s an issue until you are already riding. I really hate stopping or making people stop for me.

  152. I use my 500 daily on the trainer with GPS turned off and since the new GC update I can not export a file out of GC to use in SportTracks. I have found that this only happens when I have gps off. When I view a ride I have done outside with GPS on, GC gives me the option to export my file.
    Does anyone else have this problem?
    By the way do you ever expect SportTracks to allow direct import of .fit files?

  153. Hey, great review

    I just wanted to know how accurate/consistent the gps based speed readout is compared to a wheel sensor. Is there any noticeable delay or other issues?


  154. Hi Danny-

    RE: GC Issue with Export files

    This is indeed a new issue since the update last Wednesday. I know Garmin is aware of it, but I’m unclear what the path is to fix it. 🙁

    Hi Kim-

    RE: Consistancy with GPS vs wheel sensor

    I’ve noticed them pretty close to spot on in general assuming the wheel sensor is correctly configured. You’re always going to get minor changes based on the exact GPS accuracy at the time, but it’s honestly nothing I woudl worry about.

  155. Thanks for the quick reply.

    Do you know if we will ever be able to connect our 500 directly with SportTracks?

  156. Jeff

    I’ve been using Marengo to download routes w/turn-by-turn instructions into my Edge 305. Does the 500 have the same capability? It’s a different approach than courses… see Frank’s tutorial here:
    link to frank.kinlan.co.uk

  157. Thank you very much for the information shared. I think it would be great to connect such a tool to my bike.You see I am keen on riding my bike and actually I am going to have a ride after finishing my essay writing.

  158. I just bought the edge 500 and have some problems with the course thingy.

    You wrote something about creating a course but I cant find this option nowhere on GC nor on TC. Could you tell me where to find it?

    Also. Is there any way to convert the old .tcx file into the new .fit format? The problem is that I cant export any routes found on the internet onto my edge 500 and then use the gps to guide me.


  159. Hi Danny-

    RE: Sport Tracks and Edge 500

    I don’t know when that’ll happen unfortunately. I suspect we’ll see it within ST3.0 – due later this fall.

    Hi Jeff & Nico-

    RE: Courses

    Yes, see this post for more details: link to dcrainmaker.com

    Woot! Two comment answers for the price of one! Always a win at 1AM. 🙂

    RE: Convert TCX to FIT

    Hmm, I doubt it. The FIT is the binary version of the TCX, which would require redoing a lot. I’m not sure doing that would accomplish what you want though. What you really want is the .CRS file, check out my guide above – I think that’ll nail it for you. If you want to create workouts to follow, then check out this guide instead:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Thanks all, and have a good weekend!

  160. I just found out that you only have to copy the tcx file into the Edge 500 Courses Folder and then after selecting the route it converts it automatically into the fit file and the tcx file just disappears.

    I tested it just now and it really works using the gps to follow the route.

  161. Brook

    For those running with the Edge 500 who want a view on their pace (rather than speed), you can set up Auto Lap for a distance of 1 mile, then configure a display for Time – Avg. Lap and/or Time – Lap.

  162. Nice work Rainmaker.

    Three comments – related. 1) I’m now waiting on my 3rd 500 to come from Garmin Aust. First one wouldn’t track and the second developed that fault on a firmware upgrade. 2) Can’t complain about Garmin’s service. 3) I really wish they’d sort the *ing software. 🙂

  163. Hi Rainmaker,

    Fantastic review! How I wish we can have such detailed review for every product before making any purchase.

    Thank you very much.

  164. Anonymous

    Garmin 500.
    Going on a 9 day trip will the 500 record each days data ready to download at the end?

  165. First of all DC, you missed your calling. You should be writing reviews for magazines…outstanding review my friend. Bought this watch after 7 years of my faithful Polar 710s. Must say I absolutely love it. Love seeing my ride on google earth after the fact and seeing the heart rate and speed simultaneously in player mode. No problems with losing signals or workouts. I am careful to reset fully after a workout though after reading other posts. I have taken this unit on walks with me in Europe and it is really cool to retrace your adventures. I can see this being a selling feature in itself. Would like to see a time in zone software update as others have mentioned. Very happy with the unit. Love the light weight, the easy ability to take it on and off my bike and its small weight. Could not be happier and will recommend it to my friends.

  166. Roy

    Amazing review, wish I could get such in depth on all products/gadgets I want.

    Quick question though, which is the best device, the Edge 500 or the Edge 305.

    Thanks for all your help.


  167. Hi Nico-

    RE: TCX files

    Great to hear you were able to get it all sorted out.

    Hi Brook-

    RE: Autolap

    Yup, that’s a great idea! Never even considered that.

    Hi Bobb-

    RE: Misc

    Agree on Garmin’s customer service – top notch, always helpful in fixing it. And also agree that software doesn’t tend to be their greatest strength.

    Hi Jit-


    Hi Anon-

    RE: 9 day trip

    Hmm, you’ve got about 20 hours of battery, but from a data standpoint, 9 days is not a problem. I’ve got 5 months on there now and I’ve barely scratched the surface. From a battery standpoint, my suggestion is to just pickup a cheap Solar USB charger from Amazon. That’s what I did back on a multi-day kayak trip. Worked perfectly.

    Hi Garry-

    Thanks for the comments, and glad to hear it’s working well!

    Hi Roy-

    RE: Edge 305 vs Edge 500

    Hmm, they are slightly different from a display standpoint. But…basically…the Edge 500 is better. It’s got more features, and really it does the basic course display that you’d want. If we were talking 705 vs 500, it’d be different.

    Thanks all!

  168. Nice review. The lost data bug that you mention is still around – I lost the first serious workout that I did with it! Having another session tonight, hopefully it will work this time. It’s a serious issue and hopefully Garmin are working on it!

  169. Great in-depth review.

    How accessible is the USB port on the device while mounted?

    I am thinking of getting a dynamo USB charger on my touring bike, and having a GPS computer that charges on the fly would be great.

  170. Hi Steve-

    RE: Lost data bug

    Bummer 🙁

    Hi Henry-

    RE: USB data port

    It’s accessible, depending on how you mount it. However, I’ve been unable to get it to both charge and operate at the same time. The Forerunner 305 for example allows you to charge and operate, but the Edge 500 seems to go into charging mode when I try, though it may be an issue of how the power is being delivered, I don’t have the Dynamo USB charger. 🙁

  171. Bought the 310xt watch strap to run with my Garmin 500 and it works like a charm. I am primarily a cyclist and run very occasionally (especially when I am away on business and can’t bring a bike) and this setup works great and is just what I needed. Great suggestion Rainmaker! I love this HRM. Have yet to lose satellite coverage or my heart rate to the monitor. Haven’t lost an event yet either but am careful to reset properly.

  172. Kasper

    Hi Rainmaker,

    Me and my father is considering buying the edge 500.

    We’ve just got one question, do you know what will happen if you have 2 of the same devices within short distance? For example when we’re riding together?

    As in, will the wireless stuff pick up to the wrong computer and so on?

    Thanks much,

    Great review,


  173. Hi Kapser-

    RE: 2 of the units near each other

    Nope, no issues at all there. The ANT+ accessories are tied using unique ID’s to each Edge 500, so interference isn’t an issue. My girlfriend and I use them within a few feet of each other all the time, and no issues.

    Hope this helps!

  174. Kurt

    Hi Ray

    Your review about the Edge 500 is just awesome; thanks a lot for your work! Actually, your review persuaded me to get this little blue gadget as well as the 310XT wrist band, as this just works very well for me (first I’m a cyclist, and then I’m also a bit of a runner …).
    Now, I still have a question, and it seems that the Garmin support in Switzerland does not work as well as it does in the US. I wrote them 2 E-Mails (the first one almost 3 weeks ago), and haven’t gotten an answer so far. My question: I am running a 10 miles race in May and found the course on Garmin connect, but with just 1 fixed time. I’d like to alter this time (duration), but couldn’t find out how, neither in GTC nor in Garmin Connect (actually, the only thing I could alter was the course’s name!). Can you help me?
    Thanks in advance and ‘happy trails’!

  175. Hi Kurt-

    RE: Modifying courses

    Sorta, you can tweak older courses, but it would be super-messy. You’re better bet is to simply create a new course with a new speed/time. You can do that following the instructions in the below post I did:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

  176. Thank you for this in-depth review Rainmaker. I’m just waiting for mine to be delivered.

    I was planning on doing a review, but I don’t think it would match yours for detail and your expert view so I shall instead be pointing people to your review.

    Thanks again

  177. Kurt

    Hi again, Ray

    Just wanted to thank you for your swift reply and for your link about creating a route myself.

    And I wanted to let you know that it worked (although they may have changed their rules because I HAD TO create an account to download the data; but that’s not a complaint!).

    Thanks again for your great help.

    Cheers from Switzerland,

  178. Anonymous

    Hi RainMaker

    Thank for the detailed review on Garmin Edge 500. Do you think Edge 500 can used to geotagging photo?

    Many thanks


  179. Hi Jay-

    RE: Using Edge for Geotagging

    Yup, absolutely. I did a bit of that actually during my travels back in December (just click on Travel in the header). From Garmin Connect you can simply export out the GPX file and you’re good to go. Out of all the Garmin devices I’ve played with on geotagging, this one actually works the best because the signal reception is so strong..yet the device is so tiny.

  180. Roland

    I’m unable to upload any files to Garmin Connect. I get “An error occurred with your upload” when trying to upload a gpx and “Some activities could not be created” for tcx files. I tried files exported from MapMyRide and from RideWithGPS.

    What routing site/app generates course files that can be uploaded to Garmin Connect and then be downloaded to the Edge 500?

    Or how else can I manually route a course on the PC and then download it to the 500?

  181. @Roland, you don’t upload a course to Garmin Connect, you should use either the Garmin Training Center, or (not sure if this works on the Edge 500), copy the file (Tcx format) to the /Garmin/Courses/ folder on the Garmin Storage.

  182. Roland


    The 500 only understands fit files. That’s why I’m trying to upload the tcx file to Garmin Connect so I can then download it to the 500. Downloading from Garmin Connect to the 500 generates the fit file.

    Anybody have any other idea how I can manually route a course on the PC and then download it to the 500?

  183. Hi Roland-

    RE: TCX file for routing

    Typically TCX files are used for data recording, and GPX files are used for GPS coordinate recording. CRS files meanwhile are used for forward-looking course navigation, with Garmin devices.

    Have you tried the instructions here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    I don’t use the Garmin Connect upload option only because I find the GTC option much quicker and easier. Have you tried using GTC to have it send the CRS (Course file) to the Edge 500? That’s what I usually do without issue.

    Thanks wari for helping out!

  184. Roland

    @Rainmaker, Thanks for your help!!!
    Importing courses into Training Center and sending them to the 500 works. It works with CRS files from MapMyRide and with TCX files from RideWithGPS. I thought I could use Garmin Connect for that but Training Center is OK too.

    Looks like I’m all set (for now).

    Thanks again!

  185. Rainmaker,

    thanks for the review of Garmin 500. Questions: I assume it shows your current altitude, your total altitude gained (or lost), correct? I was told it does not show % grade. Can one get that via the computer after the ride?


  186. Hi Rainmaker,

    Fantastic review, I read it a week ago and just ordered my Edge 500 Argyle edition tonight.

    Cant wait to get it on the bike.

    Tony, Denmark

  187. glongs

    Hi rainmaker, thanks for the review, super helpful.I was the proud owner of an edge 305 until it spontaneously jumped off the handlebars and under the wheels of a car so I am looking at the 500 as some of the functions on the 305I don’t need. One thing I did use was the GPS compass direction finder to go geocaching where I downloaded co-ords onto the unit and then followed the compass to the destination. Not as sophisticated as the “turn left/right” system on the 705 but good nonetheless. Does the 500 have this ability to download coords and use it as a basic GPS wayfinder or is it as simple as a GPS cycle computer?

  188. Hi Roland!

    RE: CRS

    Great to hear it’s all sorted out!

    Hi Ned-

    RE: % Grade

    It does indeed show grade – and is actually one of my fields I use all the time with it. I LOVE using %, because it’s great for determining false flats and thus putting things in perspective when I’m going slower than grandma…only to realize it’s actually 4% or so.

    Hi TFisch-


    Hi Glongs-

    RE: Using GPS as basic wayfinder

    Yes, you can do that to a degree. Check out this post on how to create some of those courses.:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Thanks all!

  189. Every single ride logged with my Edge 500 shows my heart rate as 30-50 BPM for the first 3-5 minutes. Obviously this is not correct. It displays and records correct values after that. I am using the same strap as when I had my Forerunner 305 and it never had an issue. Has anyone experienced something similar?

    Here are some examples:

    link to connect.garmin.com

    link to connect.garmin.com

  190. @sygyzy I have the exact same issue. usually for 5-10 minutes i get really strange HR readings…usually on the lowside (20-100bpm). then suddenly it starts working.

    i contacted garmin, and jumped through the usual hoops. one of the things they mentioned was that it sometimes is erratic until you are warmed up.

  191. Are there any real-life pictures of the Team Garmin Argyle edition? TeamGarmin is using it in the Tour of California these days, and I think they will use it for the rest of the year.

    I think the colours look a bit loud for my black road bike, but it’s limited edition and there is a premium HR strap included…

  192. @Jarno, I used a new tool called Google to find this link to bit.ly

  193. Anonymous

    Have been researching the Edge 500 to install on my bike and this is the BEST (informative)review I’ve seen….Thanks for great detail! I expect I will purchase soon and will use click thru links to Amazon.

    Also, your review pages are now book marked as I look forward to other future reviews. Thanks again!

  194. sygyzy,
    That Garmin Blogs page I had already found too, but that seem to be the only pictures you can find of it.

  195. Hi Jarno

    Mine Argyle Team edition has arrived 🙂
    My wife packed it away until my birthday on Saturday, but as soon as I get it unpacked and mounted I will put some pictures/videos up somewhere.

    I’ll get back here later.

  196. dc rainmaker,

    Love your reviews! I know the edge 500 has a laundry list of features but I was wondering if it has the ability to auto start/stop. I ride on a lot of group rides and if we get stuck at a stop light or train crossing its nice if the computer recognizes you’ve stopped (<2mph) and doesn't add the standstill into your average data.

    My old cateye had this function but I haven’t seen it listed on the 500. I know I can just hit stop/stop but I often forget.


  197. Hi Chris-

    RE: Auto Pause (Stop/Start)

    Yup, it’s in the Garmin Edge 500, and is called “Auto Pause”, which does exactly as you described. I included a bit in the review above in a section about it, if you’re looking for more deets.

    But in short, it works exactly as you describe – and is great for city or group riding. You can also adjust the ‘trigger’ speed as well.

  198. Anonymous


    based on your review i bought the Edge 500. One of my best moves ever!

    the unit is just incredible! after reading numerous reviews and especially yours, when i opened the unit it was like i owned for months!

    very user friendly and easy to navigate.

    Congrats on the extensive review and your blog! I am definitely a fan!


  199. The argyle team edition can be seem on a black Nishiki here:
    link to youtube.com

    The blank surface on the display lokks bad on video, but in reality I had no problem reading the display.

  200. Monty

    Superb review and incredible resource DC, as someone else said, I wish I could always read reviews like this before making equipment decisions.

    I’m torn between the 705 and the 500. The 705s mapping sounds ideal but I can’t tell from your review how useful the bread crumb trail on the 500 is? eg. If I approach a fork in the road or a T junction, will it be clear from the 500 which way i need to turn?

    If I head down the 705 route, would the navigation be good enough for hiking or mountain biking? Pretty sure I read somewhere that off road map creation was possible on the 705?

    Lastly, you mention that getting the unit wet is not a problem but what of use on the turbo? I can put a towel over my frame but still need to see the unit….

    Thanks again.

  201. Anne

    The Garmin Edge 500 bike computer is simply amazing. The Edge 500 connects with my own watts device, gives me pulse rate, pedal cadence and much more. The altimeter does not show up totally correct but most never are in these devices regardless of who makes them. In general its ended up a fantastic device. -dan,US

  202. Wow, the last comment totally don’t make an effort to sound legit. I hate SPAM!.

    @Monty – I have a 705, depending on the type of maps you have, it would be useful for MTB. And if Garmin cannot provide you with the maps you need (maybe due to cost, etc), you can always use the free World Routable OSM Maps – link to garmin.na1400.info

    OSM maps are not perfect, but depending on your area, it might be better than Garmin’s, for example, The beaches in the OSM maps will appear like land area. Small price to pay for some awesome trails.

    As for the 500, if you follow breadcrumb trails, maybe from Bikeroutetoaster site, or other similar site, when approaching a T junction, you’ll see just 1 line telling you where to go, not the T junction itself, you won’t really know if you are approaching it.

    And if google maps, or the OSM maps backend is outdated when creating the course, you would then have to go with instinct.

    I’d say, 500 if you know where to go most of the time, 705 if you like to explore, or if money is no object, then a 500 for training and a beautiful Dakota 20 for those trailing or routing needs.

    I have an Oregon 300 and I use it for driving, hiking, MTB (when the 705 won’t cut it), and it supports the cadence sensor as well as the heart rate monitor. Though you can’t really use it for training as it does not give you necessary data you need.

  203. Thanks for helping out Wari!

    Agree completely, the 705 can do quite a bit on the mapping front. While not a perfect fit to trail hiking, it would be functional. The Edge 500 again, while not ideal due to lack of maps, would also be sorta functional if you spent time to create the course ahead of time. But outside of that, it’d be hard to use in the woods from a navigation perspective.

    And yup, I sometimes quietly ‘fix’ some of the SPAM comments. 😉 Either by deleting them outright, or simply removing the linked content.

  204. Got my 500, cadence sensor doesn’t fit my bike…
    It’s the way the frame bends at the rear, too much space between frame and crankarm for the cadence to work, too little space between frame and spokes for speed sensor!

  205. Anonymous

    Any thoughts on how the edge 500 compares to the ciclosport CICLONAVIC 50 ?

    link to ciclosport.de

    They have a great track record w/ the HAC 4, and this looks like it is going to be close to half the price of the Garmin…


  206. Anonymous

    do you need to have the cadence option to pick up hr. My bike was stolen with a 705 on it but I still have the Hr strap. I loved the 705 but the 500 will work.

  207. Cadence and HR are unrelated.

  208. Anonymous

    Great review. Thanks

    I don’t need full mapping, but it would be useful to have a “get you home” feature. I realise this isn’t a function it provides directly but is it possible on the 500 to set where you set off from (eg where you have left your vehicle) as a route or waypoint so that if you need to you can get a bearing back to that point? If so does it also show the distance from current point to “route”?

    If there is some way to have that functionality then the 500 would meet all my needs.


  209. I replace my 305 with a 500 several weeks ago. When comparing the calorie count between the two on the same ride I find that the 500 shows about 45% of what the 305 does. This was consistent over all my 305 vs 500 rides. When doing the same ride with a friend who has my old 305 his calorie count was 4100 and mine was 1740 on the 500. I read your entire review (excellent) and found only one comment on this. The Garmin product support response was that the Edge 500 uses the FirstBeat technology to calculate calorie burn. This algorithm takes into consideration heart rate (the 305 does not) and is considered by some to be more accurate. My old Polar 725 and other articles suggest that a hard road bike ride should use 600 to 700 calories per hour. That is what my 305 and 725 would show but the 500 is usually 45% of that. This number seems unreasonable. Do you have any other insite to this? Thanks.

  210. thnks you all nice comments and nice post..

  211. (Sorry for the delay all, I had to sort out some issues with getting past 200 comments, all fixed now!)

    Hi Jarno-

    RE: Speed/Cadence Sensor not fitting

    You may want to look at alternate placement, or perhaps look at one of the other ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensors, such as the Bontrager one.

    Hi Anon-


    I don’t have any experiance with it, but my general thought is ‘Safety in numbers’.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: HR Strap Link

    Yup, the straps are all interchangeable, just simply re-pair it to the new Garmin head unit.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Get Home feature

    Yup, you could just set that as a saved waypoint or location, and then it’ll get you home via shorest route (but not on roads). The Edge 705 does the routing routing.

    Hi Rob-

    RE: Calories

    As you noted, the Edge 500 and FR305 use different calorie counting mechanisms, with the 305 being the more basic. The best bet to ensuring correct calorie counting on the Edge 500 is to ensure that your Weight is correct, as well as Athlete Profile in the device, and then to use a HR strap.

    Hi Max-


  212. Rainmaker,

    Great review as always – bought the 310xt based on your review of that device and love it!

    One of the reasons I bought it was I knew I was going to be riding with power sooner than later, and today my powertap arrived from wheelbuilder.

    Unfortunately, as you note above in your comment answers, the power on the 310xt is a bit gimped because of the lack of a 3s or 30s interval, which is what I really feel would be useful in pacing me on my triathlons.

    If I am generally not needing the mapping function, already have the 310xt for heart rate, cadence sensor and speed sensor from my 310xt, would you recommend the Edge 500 as a cheap alternative that will allow me to address power on the bike and then back to the 310xt on the run?

    Also, any knowledge on whether I even need the speed sensor anymore if I have a rear PT? I put the new wheel on today (with cover) and was testing it out and noted that it was telling me speed even without the speed sensor on, which I believe is based on the powertap readings.

    Thanks for your great reviews as always!


  213. Hi Clint-

    RE: Edge 500 for bike, 310XT for run

    Yes, absolutely! That to me is my ‘most recommended’ option. Using the Edge 500 on the bike, and the 310XT on the run. It’s what I do now for all my races (minus ones I’m testing other things on), and what I do for training.

    RE: Powertap speed sensor

    In this configuration, the Edge 500 will utilize speed from the Powertap. 🙂

  214. KMS Australia

    1) I used my edge 500 at a 7hr MTB event, stuffed it in my bag with clothes etc, zipped the bag up and threw it in the back of my car. The jolly thing was still on and it tracked my car journey home! How could it do this seeing as it was stuffed away inside a bag!!!??

    2) I noticed that the way tracks that it made of my event were all over the shop in terms of what I would have thought as being accurate. How is this? Can I tune it better?

    3) How do I change the heart rate zones and my max HR??

  215. Ray Thanks for your hours of service you continue to provide to answer our questions.
    I am seeing inconsistencies with Garmin Connect and SportTracks.
    Why would the elevation gain be much higher on Garmin Connect then on SportTracks? I also notice avg speed go down considerably on ST compared to GC. While distance is almost exactly the same.

  216. Just to add to my last post.
    My ride over the weekend showed 3025 feet of elevation gain in GC but when I exported into SP it only showed 1882 feet of elevation gain. Is there a setting I am missing somewhere?

  217. Hi KMS-

    RE: Inside pocket/bag/car/etc..

    The GPS chip in it is pretty strong, it’ll easily work inside my house on the first floor…which if four floors from the roof. 🙂

    RE: Accuracy

    Not much you can do here honestly. The best thing is to ensure it’s got a good solid lock before you start off.

    RE: Zones

    You can change them on the device, using Garmin Connect, or using Garmin Training center.

    Hi Danny!

    RE: Elevation Gain

    Garmin Connect will do elevation correction, whereas ST will not by default (but can be enabled). GC will do elevation correction based on known NASA data and coordinates, which is generally pretty accurate. Whereas ST by default will utilize the barometric altimeter in the device.

    To grab the elevation correction plugin for ST, check out this:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    And to understand elevation in detail in sports devices, check out this:

    link to dcrainmaker.com

  218. Thanks Ray that explains a lot… and raises more questions.
    Does my 500 automatically do elevation correction also? Because if I look up total ascent on activities on the 500, they are the same as GC.
    Also, does elevation correction affect avg speed? This mornings ride showed avg speed was 17mph on the 500 and 15.6mph in ST. While distance was the same.

  219. @Danny asked: Also, does elevation correction affect avg speed? This mornings ride showed avg speed was 17mph on the 500 and 15.6mph in ST. While distance was the same.

    Elevation correction does not affect avg speed, ST calculates your ride differently, possibly includes your stop times. To change this, at your summary page, there is a “Data” button (looks like a calculator) on the top right hand side. Change it from “Use calculated values” to “Use manually entered values”. Manually entered in this case means data given by the Edge 500. You can set this by default in the settings I believe.

    I find ST to be confusing though, therefore have not used it.

  220. Thanks wari, that fixed my speed and avg speed problem.
    Now I just need to fix the elevation problem. So far I have not been able to download the plugin because ST must be having a problem with their download location.

  221. Anonymous

    Hi DC Rainmaker!

    Great Review! Full of valuable information.

    As I scanned to the bottom of the comments section, I found no posts regarding the use of Suunto ANT+ HR straps in conjunction with the Edge 500. I know the Suunto HR straps run ANT+ technology and am curious if the devices are compatible. Do you know or have experience with this?

  222. Eli

    This review is insanely good.

    Anyway, the Garmin Edge 500 now comes with the new HR strap, at least mine did.

  223. I believe the Suunto HRM uses ANT, not ANT+, therefore, not compatible at all. Unless they have some new products coming out, the current t3 to t6 uses the ANT tech to communicate.

  224. Anonymous

    I have just read your review from go to whoa and am blown away by the level of detail you have gone to! Absolutely amazing!

    When I was dicussing the purchase of a new cycle computer with my cycle coach he mentioned that a replacement for the 705 was due out any day that was supposed to have touch screen featues. Have you heard any whispers regarding this new model? Thanks Rossco

  225. How do you find out what the HRM and cadence sensor Id’s are? I ride with alot of people that use garmin products and I would prefer to program in my specific equipment but have no idea how to find out the numbers.


  226. Anonymous

    Thanks for the review!

    Any thoughts on the “Auto” vs. “Custom” wheel size setting? Which one do you use and why?


  227. Anonymous

    Just bought and took out my Garmin Edge 500 for the first ride today – mine has no extras. Got home and loaded the ride into Garmin Connect and I have to say that the map that was generated (a feature that helped sell me on this unit) was far from accurate. Is there anything I can do to improve this? Thanks – Zaelia

  228. Hi Danny-

    RE: Elevation correction in Garmin Connect

    No, by default, in Garmin Connect when you load an Edge 500 ride, it’ll not do elevation correction. You can toggle it on/off on the left hand panel of the ride.

    Elevation correction wouldn’t affect speed – though differences in how different sport applications calculate can. Meaning, ST can throw out points differently than GC. Though, you’re difference is pretty significant and unusual.

    Definitely follow Wari’s advice.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Suunto HR strap

    Looks like wari’s got ya covered there – thanks wari!

    Hi Anon/Rossco-

    RE: New Edge ‘705’ with touch

    I haven’t heard of such a thing. If one were to come out, it would likely happen either the week of September 22nd (at Interbike), or otherwise, then in the spring. The 705 is slightly overdue for an update (based on Garmin’s normal timetable) – so I can certainly see that happening.

    Hi Chris-

    RE: HRm/Cadence sensor ID’s:

    Simply dig down as if you were to pair the sensor again, and it’ll show it there.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Auto vs Custom Wheel Size

    Auto uses GPS to determine wheel size. If you know your wheel size, then go ahead and use that – so it’ll be correct when indoors. Otherwise, use auto to determine wheel size.

    Hi Zaelia-

    RE: Inaccurate map

    I’ve never seen an inaccurate map before unless it didn’t get the satellite signal. Did you wait for the GPS acquisition to occur? Also – what does the map look like? Is it on the wrong area (meaning, overall route looks correct – but lines arne’t on roads, etc…)? Just trying to understand the issue.

    Thanks all!

  229. Anonymous

    RE: Inaccurate map

    I did wait for the GPS acquisition and it is on the right area but the lines aren’t on roads, etc.

    The mapping is not all that bad, it’s just that it cuts corners (i.e. shows the ride going through building, parks, etc.) and doesn’t follow the road. It looks more like the GPS plotted points and then draws a straight line from one point to another. Like I said, not that bad, but it wasn’t what I was expecting and was a little disappointed, so I thought I would ask if anyone knew of something I might have done/not done that could cause this.

    Thanks again,

    P.S. Your review was extremely detailed and much appreciated! As is your willingness to answer people’s questions. Garmin should give you a stipend.

  230. This is an excellent review of a product I really like…except for one feature. Unless I’m overlooking something, the Edge 500 does not display HR in real time–meaning while you’re exercising. If this is correct, it’s really surprising since this is a training computer and many of us like to use HR zones WHILE we’re training. I understand that you can program the 500 to alert you when you are in certain zones, but this is not the same as being able to continuously monitor HR as you exercise. Would sure be nice if this could be added in a future firmware update!

  231. Not sure what you mean by real time, but it shows heart rate in BPM, Zones and HRR% Max. All in Current, Avg and avg/lap. Good enough for whatever kind of training regime you follow.

    I don’t have the Edge 500, but I would kill to have the Zone Graph feature on the 705. Loved it on my Forerunner 405.

  232. Anonymous


    This unit has firmware bugs that cause it to LOSE DATA. Go look at the Garmin forums – there are many threads on this topic. One of them is 24 pages long! I am not alone.

    Garmin is aware of this – apparently it even affects the Pro teams! Supposedly there is a firmware update coming. Some day. Until then DO NOT BUY.

    I have an Edge 305 too and it works beautifully: The interface is faster, the menu’ing is more intuitive despite having more options, and the buttons are easier to press.

    Garmin screwed up on the Edge 500 big time. Maybe I should have bought the Joule.

    To anyone who says it doesn’t happen to them… good for you, you’ve been lucky.

    Imagine how maddening it is to go out hard for 2-3 hours and then come home and… NO DATA. #@$@# A watch, pencil and paper would be better.

    Go see the Garmin forums for the Edge 500

  233. Anonymous

    Garmin have just released firmware v2.4 which is *supposed* to fix a lot of issues, including freezing. It’s too new to verify at the moment though.

  234. Thanks for the very comprehensive review. I’ve been considering moving from my current Edge 305 to a 500. One thing I cannot find though is how the breadcrumbs/tracking history works if you are not using a course. On my 305, I can flip the page to a map view, and I’ll see a dotted representation of my route so far, including a starting point icon. Can you do the same on the 500? Thanks!

  235. Thanks for all your efforts Rainmaker. You’ve helped many of us change our lives for the better!
    Quick question…in my Garmin Connect Activities, can I add photo or video icons or links for pictures taken during an activity and that others can click on to see the course or activity?
    I’ve looked all over and can’t find anything.

  236. Thanks Rainmaker. I just bought an Edge 500 based on your reviews and am delighted with it. I am a crazy online researcher and poring through your reviews was fun! your website is the richest resource for comparative shoppping for advanced bike computers.

  237. great review…I purchased one about 2 months ago and it’s been performing flawlessly.

    What’s the deal with the elevation correction? I just completed a century ride where the device registered 7,770 feet of climbing. When I use the “enable corrections” button on the elevations box, it bumped the total gain to 10,360+ feet. That’s a 33% increase from the device. Supposedly, the corrections feature reads your route over known elevations and makes the corrections. Is the error really that big? Curious about your thoughts on this. I went back and checked my other rides and they, too, increased significantly over the original device readings.

    Michael, Corte Madera, CA

  238. Great review and I purschaed the Edge 500 several months back based on this great information. I really like the unit and it has performed great.

    Only issue, the mounting on the back of the unit has stripped and the unit went falling this morning.

    I called Garmin today and they are going to repair or replace the unit.

    My question is, has anyone else had this issue of the mounting getting stripped on the back of the unit?


  239. Hi RV-

    RE: Display of HR in realtime

    Hmm, as Wari noted, this is pretty common (and what I display on my Edge 500), so you’ll just need to change the data field to show current heart rate.

    Hi Anon-

    RE: Loss of data

    Data loss does indeed suck. There is one of those threads for every sports device out there though. While the Edge 500 has had some rough spots, the latest firmware updates in the last few months have resolved any issues I’ve had. I personally at least haven’t lost a data file since the winter. Now, that’s not to say I won’t lose data tomorrow, but I’m pretty confident it won’t. As for losing data on device – I hear you’re pain – I lost my entire Ironman Canada race day data file last year.

    Hi Dave-

    RE: Maps

    On the Edge 500 you have to be in course view to see it.

    Hi TC-

    RE: Adding photo/video in GC

    I’m not aware of anything of the sort. In both Training Peaks and Sport Tracks you can do similiar items though.

    Hi Taj-


    Hi Mwan-

    RE: Elevation Correction

    Check out this post here for all your elevation answer:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Dbosler-

    RE: Mounting

    I haven’t heard of such a thing – but good to see Garmin’s swapping it out.

  240. Anonymous

    Great review. Have you had enough experience with the calorie calculation to know if its reasonably accurate?? Seems low compared to calorie burned calculators? Thoughts

  241. anthony

    Hi, thanks for the review

    I was wondering if you can set the edge 500 to sound an alarm if your heart rate/cadence leaves a certain zone? and can you set this zone yourself, or are there just pre-sets?

    What sort of things can you do with the workouts?

    Also what software do you recommend to use with it – I know you used to say your favourite was SportTracks as it was free, but I think this is no longer the case?


  242. Anonymous

    Hello RainMaker,
    Edge 500 Specific – Can I have multiple courses loaded simutaneously and then select a different course while riding?


  243. Hi Ray,

    Not sure if anyone’s covered it any comments yet and I didn’t see it in the article but if you upload data from your Edge 500 to GTC then to Garmin Connect some data is missing (e.g. temperature). If you upload data directly from the Edge 500 to Garmin Connect (without going through GTC first) the data is all there.

    I battled to figure this out today but got there in the end. It’s obviously due to GTC being legacy, old and cr*ppy.


  244. Hi Anthony-

    RE: Zones

    Yup, you can customize the zones to whatever you’d like them to be, and alert based on that. same with workouts.

    RE: Sport Tracks

    Yes, for desktop apps – Sport Tracks is still my favorite. Also, it’s free for the most part, only if you want more plugins does it cost mor.

    Hi TBill-

    RE: Multiple courses

    Yes, you can select courses on the fly.

    Hi DigitalForumula-

    RE: Temp

    Yup, in short, GTC is a POS. 🙂

  245. Maybe this has been covered, but can you create a course that will repeat indefinitely until manually ended and increment your lap count at a certain point on the course? I’m thinking of using the computer in some criteriums and circuits in which the number of laps is determined by the lap times (therefore not allowing me to create the course beforehand with absolute accuracy), and I would really like to be able to tell whether lap times are getting faster, slower etc. I would think that setting the device to switch laps after a certain distance would become inaccurate after a large nunmber of laps. Thanks.

  246. Hi @Matthew, on a lot of the Garmin devices I know of, from the Edge 705 to the Forerunner series (except 110 and 210), you can create autolaps from “Start and Lap” based on the GPS positions.

    So before doing your criterium, just change your Autolap settings and you should be fine, the 500 should Lap you everytime you pass the “Start” area within 10 meter radius or so (can’t confirm this, but it works for me). I don’t think a course file would work properly the way you want it.

  247. Wow. Just found your site. What an amazing amount of work you do – and all for free. You are a special man.

    I am a newbie cyclist and so my questions re: the 500 might seem silly, but…

    Does it keep a continuous odometer reading? Meaning, can I see the total miles I’ve ridden to date?

    For me, I’m more interested in the grade percent of certain hills I climb, as opposed to altitude. Does the 500 show an accurate reading of grade %?

    Lastly, thank you for all the time and effort you put into all this. Amazing.

  248. Good post matey!.. bought one based on it.

  249. Hi Matthew-

    RE: Course repeating

    No, not that I’m aware of. Wari’s option though is good quite and should roughly work as a workaround.

    Hi Fizzhogg-

    RE: Odometer

    Yup, it keeps an odometer, and you can set the starting point.

    RE: Grade

    Yes, it shows grade – and it’s something that I use all the time on mine. I find it fairly accurate and great for defining false flats

    Thanks William!

  250. Anonymous

    G’day from OZ

    My query relates to my Edge 500 and the 3 bikes I use (commuter, training, racing). I have 3 bike mounts and use the Edge 500 on each bike.

    But I cannot see where the Edge 500 bike settings allow for more than 1 “Bike Details”. The 310 allows for up to 3 bikes.

    Does the Edge 500 allow for more than 1 bike and history to be recorded ?

  251. Anonymous

    G’day from Oz (again)

    I have solved my problem with the 3 x Bike details, but now I have a different query.

    Am I stuck with the same 3 x customised screens for all 3 bikes ?

    I would prefer to have a different set of screens for my racing bike.

    Can this be done ?

    PS Great website, much easier to read than the instruction manual

  252. I have a wireless powertap 2.4 with the powertap 2.4 yellow computer head … it is not ant+. I know that I need to get the ant+ updater from cycleops ($100) to be able to use the Garmin 500 to get power readings, but I’ve also invested $100 in the cycleops speed/cadence sensors and am wondering if these can be used with the Garmin 500? I don’t know how to tell if these sensors are ant+. I bought the complete unit approximately 2 1/2 years ago. I don’t want to purchase the Garmin sensor if not needed. Thanks, Doug

  253. Martin M

    Great review mate, very helpful!!

  254. Hi Ray,

    Love my Garmin Edge 500 but lately when riding the autopause keeps triggering whilst I’m hammering along. I’m riding all the usual cycle routes around Perth in Australia so wouldnt think it would be a GPS connectivity problem but that is what is seems like. I have upgraded the firmware not sure if that will help, if you have any ideas let me know.


  255. Anonymous

    I think there’s a way the Edge 500 might bring you back home/to your car.

    Before you leave: At Home or at your car, record a small piece of data (+- 100 meters) and make a course called “HOME” or “CAR” (That can be done on the device itself)
    Somewhere on the road, select “HOME” or “CAR” under courses. Then “Do Course”. Now you see the distance to your car and which direction you should be going.

    Better than stuck in the middle of…


    * Distance from the current position to the course for your training
    * Estimated travel time from the current position to the course
    * Map (orientation either north up or moving direction up)
    * Map pointer (white arrow)
    * Current position (black triangle)
    * Current scale

  256. I’ve written a little tool which should work on most flavors of linux and likely also apple operating systems which allows tagging directly from the .fit file and without needing to use garmin connect. You can read a bit about it and grab a copy from here. This is especially convenient if you can’t or don’t want to run garmin connect and have an edge 500 which only produces .fit files.

  257. Anonymous

    Great Review thanks – i think that the 500 does however include the Virtual Partner software now.

  258. great review. every time i plug my 500 into the sp port the unit turns off and the computer doen’t recognize it. can u help me? gabe tenembaum

  259. Hi Rainmaker.

    A really really good review.

    I am thinking about buying the edge 500, but I have seen another Bike computer wich is from Polar and is named CS500. I would really enjoy if you could make a review of that model.

    Søren, Denmark

  260. Hi Anon-
    RE: Customized screens for each bike

    Indeed, the customized screens are shared across all three bikes.

    Hi Douglas-
    RE: CycleOps ANT+ Speed/Cadence sensors

    Yes, as long as they have the ANT+ logo, you’ll be good.

    Hi Martin

    Hi Cambo-
    RE: Autopause

    It does sound like a weird sat issue – try a soft reset to grab the correct sats. Else, consider turning off or tweaking the autopause settings a bit. Good luck!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Car finding

    Indeed…I’ve done that a few times when I haven’t been sure if/how’d I get back.

    Hi Hwttdz-
    RE: Tagging tool

    Sweet – thanks for sharing, that’s awesome!

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Virtual Parnter

    Good catch, I’ll get that updated – it was added recently in firmware.

    Hi Dr T-
    RE: USB port issues

    Hmm, that sounds like the USB port isn’t providing enough power – may be a setting in the BIOS to check.

    Hi Soren-
    RE: CS500

    Yup, aware of it – I may review it in the future, I have a few other Polar products on my list!

    Thanks all!

  261. Anonymous

    Hey Rainmaker, great review. Just bought the 500 with the speed/cadence sensor. Awesome! One quick question. I have a Zipp SL145 stem, which is extremely fat. I can’t mount the 500 on the stem and it looks a little sloppy mounted on the left side of the handlebar. Do you know of a good mount the would place the computer in the SRM position, ahead of the handlebars? Thanks!

  262. This comment has been removed by the author.

  263. Hi Ray,
    I have questions about “Courses” feature:
    1) how do I know the exact spot to start the saved course workout? I mean, once I hit the start button the course begins, no matter where I am located, right? Isn’t it weird?
    2) do saved courses also include the speed at every portion of that workout? If I start doing a saved course, will I be competing against the different speeds of the original recorded course, or the device sets a predetermined steady speed throughout the course?

    I think I don’t know how to use this feature, but I would love to learn – I find the Virtual Partner pretty stimulating.


  264. @Eduardo: There are two types of courses, one based on your old workout, or one you create from some websites like bikeroutetoaster.com

    Both includes speed information, so you could see how well you do on some sections competing against yourself. This is not an average speed thing. You can see the partner moving faster on downhills for example (could be my imagination, but it think it does)

    The Garmin will start when you are in the ‘course’, so if you started anywhere in between a course, Garmin would assume you have started, and will put the virtual partner there as well.

    The best way to do it however, is to ‘warm up’ somewhere out of the course, and head to the start of the course.

    Anyway, just give it a try, and you’ll learn its quirks very quickly. If something else start to disrupt you from the course, I believe it’s easy to just stop it.

  265. thanks wari
    I expected it to only start the VP when I reached the beginning of the course – but everytime I hit the start button, even when I’m miles away from the start of the course, it shows the distance to the VP starts to increase (as if the VP is already at the the course and I’m not).
    but I’ll try again tomorrow, let’s see what happens.

  266. @Eduardo: Hmm, maybe its an Edge 500 thing? The course behavior I mentioned is based on my experience with the ForeRunner 305, 310XT and the Edge 705/800. It can get quirky, but it works the way I expected it to. As for pressing the start to head to the start, make sure you yourself are not on (or in the middle of) the course. based on my experience, Garmin will start the VP based on where you’re at if you are near a course.

    Hope you understand what I’m trying to get across here. Anyway, it course be that the Edge 500 has a different feature set (or a bug), I don’t have one, so I’m not sure.

  267. Bernard Maughan

    Hi All,

    Forgive me if this is mentioned elsewhere but I don’t have the time to read through the hundreds of comments left after after Ray’s brilliant review.

    Here’s a simple but effective workaround for screen glare issues:

    Go to a mobile phone store and buy an anti-glare screen protector for a mobile phone. trim to fit the (mostly smaller) Edge 500 screen, and then carefully apply.

    Done properly you won’t even notice the additional layer on the device and you’ll have the added bonus of having a scratch-protected screen.

    I did this and found it a very effective solution for less than the cost of my post ride coffee.



  268. Anonymous

    Hi DC!
    I have a question regarding the Total Fat Calories on GTC, how can i set up my EDGE 500 in order to get the data of Total Fat Calories?



  269. I would like to say this is an excellent blog that I have ever come across. Very informative.

    Life For Rent | Life For Rent

  270. Anonymous

    Brilliant review! Well done! Thank you!

  271. Was wondering whether you are planning to do a review of the new Bryton GPS cycling computers?

  272. @Overview, it’s so nice to know that there are other devices other than Garmin, that does seems to have more features/info, and is not the crappy ones that they sell down here.

    It’s also ironic that it’s because of Garmin’s lawsuit, that this brand is now brought to light with free publicity.

    I like the fact that it uses OpenStreetMaps as the source for its mapping feature. Interesting indeed. Oh, and the Rider 30 is not bad at all.

    PS: I really don’t think that people will be confused between the Rider 30 and the Edge 500. Here’s saying to Garmin that if you don’t wake up, other companies might win you over features. Then again, what’s a pedometer doing in a bike computer (Rider 50) is beyond me 🙂

  273. thanks for the very detailed review! i already own an edge 500, but have learned so much more about it than what i’m currently using. this was a much easier and more entertaining read than the supplied owner’s manual. i look forward to more of your reviews!

  274. Dear Ray,

    Thanks again for all your posts.

    I have a quick question: have you tried this Garmin EDGE 500 with Timex Global Trainer HR Strap?



  275. Do you have any critiques of the Bontrager DuoTrap that fits in the frame of both my Trek Madone as well as my Trek Speed Concept Tri bike?


  276. This is not the first of your posts I’ve read, and you never cease to amaze me. Thank you, and I look forward to reading more.

  277. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work

  278. Very good review, I just got an edge 800 and would like an equally comprehesive review so I do not have to spend soo much time with the instuction manuals

  279. Anonymous

    Could you help me out and tell me where the sensor ID is located for the HRM (hard strap) I got with my Edge 500? I’m not getting any data. The edge 500 is showing the blinking heart, but thats it. Thanks in advance!

  280. Anonymous

    Great reviews – when exporting Edge500 data to either Garmin Connect or Sport Tracks, is there any way to capture which bike was used (bike 1 vs bike 2) other than manual input?


    please can you advise is it possible to turn off the virtual partner? I do long rides so my speed varies with hills, traffic, or other break – so it is not possible to keep pace with the virtual partner and hence the scales are varying and the information becomes hard to follow. On a downloaded route, the virtual partner is not telling me anything more than my average speed (against a previous record of the same course it is obviously different).

  282. Ken

    Your reviews are so many SDs beyond the mean that they approach the horizontal axis. Thank you so much!

    On the external temperature function, how hard would it be for Garmin to download that info from a satellite (the way I assume my iPhone does) rather than try to measure it directly? Forerunner and Edge devices are already downloading time of day and position, why not current actual temperature? On a long ride or run, I know how hot or cold it was when I started but it would be nice (or maybe masochistic is the word) to know how that is changing as the morning stretches on.

    Even if I chose not to look at that info in real time, it would be helpful to have it upload to my computer with other data like heart rate, altitude, etc. for analysis afterwards to factor in how temperature affected performance mile by mile.

  283. Hi everybody,

    Hope you can help me with 3 little problems I have, I just got an Edge 500, last night!

    I love the unit itself and set up was a breeze, BUT, I haven’t been able to do three things:

    1-I haven’t been able to download the Communicator Plugin, I always get an error titled “7-Zip” which states “The requested operation requires elevation”. I have tried to donwload it with Google Chrome and IE7, with no luck.

    2-I haven’t been able to download the Garmin Training Center, I always get the same error as above titled “7-Zip” which states “The requested operation requires elevation”.

    3-When I try to update my heartrate zones from Garmin Connect to my Edge 500 and hit “send to device”, nothing happens.

    Appreciate any ideas.


  284. Hi Ray,

    apologies if this question has been asked already… I scrolled through and didn’t see it but I may have missed it.

    Can you plug the Edge 500 into an ipad 2? Is the communicator plug-in available for that – I can’t seem to find an answer on the Garmin site.


  285. Chris

    Love the review – very helpful – thanks

    i do have one question. have you ever seen issues with the calories? i seem to be only collecting data for part of the ride (4 hr ride = only 2000cals)
    any settings that i am missing?
    the HR monitor is connected and active for the whole ride.
    thanks for any help!

  286. Marcus

    Hi Rainmaker,
    I am owning an Edge 305 and beside tracking my workouts in combination with StportTracks I use it heavily to try out new and unknown courses. I am absolutely fine with just seeing the breadcrumb instead of a map.
    Because the Edge 305 has some loose contact after 15,000 km on the stem and because of the longer battery live I recently purchased an Edge 500.
    As I said I use the courses a lot and was quite disappointed that unlike the Edge 305 I can not select the data fields that are shown on the course screen.
    Am I really right with this? Is there no way to change those fields?
    Regards from Germany

  287. Great review – have the Edge 305 which I like and had the Forerunner 405 which I hated …. well the bezel.
    500 looks interesting – esp now it is so cheap

  288. Hi Anon-
    RE: SRM style mount

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen none. Sorry!

    Hi Eduardo-
    RE: Courses

    It asks you if you’d like to route to the start, if you aren’t nearby

    RE: Speed portion

    It’ll be specific to that chunk of course.

    Thanks Wari on helping out!

    Hi Bernard-
    RE: Screen glare

    Yup, a few others have had success there as well with the mobile phone ones.

    Hi Anon

    Hi Overview-
    RE: Bryton Rider Review

    I have it on the radar, but it’s also not highly demanded by many, so it’s somewhat tough for me to justify the time at the moment. Just being honest, I’ve only got so many hours in the day unfortunately. :-/

    Hi EST.09-

    Hi Samuel-
    RE: Timex Global Trainer HR strap with Edge 500

    Yes, they’re fully compatible with each other.

    Hi FFCaldwell-
    RE: Duotrap

    I love it, and have it on my wifes bike (Speed Concept) – works great!

    Hi Lydia-

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Sensor ID:

    It’s not written out on the HR strap sensor ID unfortunately, you’d have to scan for it once while alone to gather it.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Data Export capture bike name

    None that I’m aware of.

    Hi Stevebby-
    RE: Turn off virtual partner

    Yup, you can turn it off in the display settings

    Hi Ken-
    RE: Download temp data from satellite

    Garmin’s only using the GPS side of satellites and wouldn’t be able to gather any other data unfortunately. The iPhone uses cell networks to gather the information, via Edge, 3G or 4G. I suspect in a few years the next version of the Edge 800+ will be Internet connected like the Garmin GTU’s.

    Hi Lerubi-
    RE: Communicator plugin and other installations

    It sounds like you need admin access on your box in order to intsall the software.

    Hi Alison-
    RE: Edge 500 into iPad too.

    Unfortunately not, there’s no software connector today that will access those files. Wish there was!

    Hi Chris-
    RE: Calories

    Yes, it must be configured correctly in order to get accurate calories. But 2,000 calories for a 4hr ride seems about right depending on how hard you were working and weight and what not. Hard to say for sure though.

    Hi Marcus-
    RE: Changing course screen fields

    Hmm, I don’t have it handy at the moment (my wife has it on her bike out of town) – but I don’t think on the Edge 500 you can change that particular field set.

    Hi Surfabike-
    You’ll enjoy the Edge 500 if you liked the Edge 305.

    Thanks all, and sorry for the delay here – been a bit of a crazy few months with wedding and honeymoon, just getting a chance to catchup on all the past comments.

  289. Hey DC Rainmaker!
    I recently bought an Edge 500 and I’m very happy with it, but I’ve decided to upgrade to a 310xt as it will be of benefit as I run and swim,(I hope to compete in an Ironman in France next June).
    Before I give my Edge 500 to a friend, could you suggest any way that the 310xt forerunner doesn’t cover all of the features my Edge 500 does.
    ps. Your reviews are gold!!!

    pk from Sydney

  290. Grant

    HI Ray.

    Your reviews are the stuff of legends and put most manufacturers to absolute shame. After reading your reviews on GPS bike computers and other research, I have just changed from a simple Topeak 150 to a Garmin 500 to pick up some extra features.

    Other mountain bikers I know have 500’s & 800’s and swear by them for their GPS tracking abilities in New Zealand forest conditions. However, I am having real problems with getting accurate GPS distance. This first showed up against my well-calibrated Topeak and while I was expecting a little variation – the Garmin is reading about 20 to 25% low, which is way off.

    I have read many blogs and know I am not alone with this problem but was hoping with your expertise you might be able to shed some pearls of wisdom. This is what I have done so far;

    (a) Firstly, I have gone back and ensured everything is installed & aligned properly.

    (b) I have checked the Garmin 500 head unit out against our in-car GPS and with good clear GPS signal, the two units track each other very well. However in subsequent rides there was still a 20 – 25% discrepancy between the Garmin & my Topeak.

    (c) Some blogs and other sources said to just take the wheel magnet off thus not confusing the whole GPS thing and the Garmin would then sort itself out. Couldn’t see how this would help but did it anyway. No joy with GPS readings still way low.

    (d) the blogs say that the Garmin will default to the rear wheel data for distance if it is available. I wondered if, as the blogs said, the auto calibration of the rear wheel circumference was mucking things up.

    (e) I took the Garmin off automatic rear wheel circumference calibration and entered a manual circumference – that being the average of 10 rear wheel revolutions with me on the bike. Eureka – it now tracks my Topeak very closely & consistently, but it left me wondering just what info the GPS was recording on a forest ride.

    (f) So as well as uploading to Garmin Connect I also uploaded to “Ride With GPS” which according to the blogs ONLY looks at the GPS data for distance. Once again a big disconnect between the GC result (ie rear wheel) and the RWGPS result (GPS only). The RWGPS data was back to the “old” Garmin data.

    (g) Knowing that the Garmin was accurate in open conditions I did a small test at a local sportsground. Checked satellite reception, which was very good with location error down to only 3m. I rode 4 X 500 metre laps for just over 2km and uploaded to GC & RWGPS and guess what they agree very very closely on distance. So I now know for sure that the rear wheel calibration is spot on – ditto the Topeak 150 calibration.

    (h) As per your blog I have done a soft reset and once again no change on results.

    The problem this leaves me is that it means that the Garmin GPS is significantly under-recording in even light forest conditions. Kind of makes me wonder what the benefit of GPS is at all as its the old wheel magnet system which is actually the accurate reading?

    Have I got a faulty unit?

    Sorry about the long post. Any thoughts or insights would be very gratefully received.

    Cheers Grant

  291. Hi Ray,

    one question regarding the use of multiple bikes – each with their own ANT+ s/c sensor: do you need to re-pair with the ANT+ sensors each time you use another bike, or is the sensor ID part of the “bike profiles” you can store on the Edge 500? Ie. switch bike profile = switch sensors?


  292. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  293. It’s great to see good information being shared and also to see fresh, creative ideas that have never been done before.

  294. That’s probably the most thorough review I have ever seen. Here’s a great consumer reviews website that everyone needs to see.

  295. Anonymous

    Absolutely DEAD ON with everything said. Experienced same probs, same successes. Wish I’d read this b-4 purchase, but after a car ran over my FR301 it was time to replace & had already been considering the E500. Now if I could only get the Altitude thing to be more accurate. Thanks. Roy

  296. Anonymous

    Great review very happy to find some nice details about the garmin 500 i just bought before seeing an ad and hearing about the motorola motoactv. how would you compare the two? Obviously the Garmin is geared for cycling while the motoactv is made for more then one activity lacking the focus on cycling which is the only activity i do.

  297. great review! i just purchased my very first gps enabled bike computer. i just have a question regarding installing it on my fsa control center (i’m using fsa plasma integrated handlebar). is it safe? do u hv any advice on how to mount it? thanks!

  298. Hi Rainmaker, I’ve read your reviews on the Edge 500 and the Timex GPS watch in search for a bikecomputer. But I really don’t know what to buy. I’m an amateur cyclist from Holland. I’m looking for a cycling computer that besides the obvious can at least display cadence, heartrate, records my route,altimeter en ascent/descent. I sometimes run, so if I could use it for running that would be nice. But a great bike computer is the most important. A simple heartrate monitor for running doesn’t cost that much. What can you advice me for the cycling computer? All suggestions are welcome, not only a choice between Edge and Timex. I can’t promise you anything, but I might buy through your link to Amazone, because the US is a lot cheaper and a friend can bring it to me when returning home for the holidays. Thank you for your response. The Flying Dutchman

  299. Great review, but one important detail was left out: the data recording resolution for the GPS. I forget the actual frequency, but its around every 20 sec which is Ok for Road riding but lousy for Mountain Biking on a twisting single track. The old 705 had much higher GPS resolution.

  300. Anonymous

    Is there any update on when the new firmware for the Edge 500 (to include TSS, IF, and NP-and hopefully more screens) will be released? Is there some place (blog, etc) that I can get the latest status on this issue? I’m really getting impatient to have the data fields, especially since they have been available for the Edge 800 for quite some time now…

  301. Trevor

    Just purchased here in the uk – excellent review and guidance. Thanks

  302. Anonymous

    Would love to see the pics again (of this still current model) which appear to have been deleted from the server 🙁

  303. Anonymous

    Oops the pics are there but for some reason are not showing as embedded pics in both Firefox and IE9.. hmmm..

  304. This a manifestation of standards and everything nice. Great post Rainmaker! Keep it up and more power!

    Happy New Year!!!

  305. Anonymous

    I managed to get the rubber bands and mount on my wrist without a strap for the Edge 500. It was tight and ripped some hairs out. People with large hands probably wouldn’t be able to get the rubber bands on. It’s big and ugly but I’m going go buy a wrist strap for it to save some money.

  306. Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome. You are really a master.

    Best Deals

  307. Thanks for sharing such pictures and details. I really appreciate it.

  308. Anonymous

    Awesome review but here is an unexpected(?) question… what’s the weight of the full kit once setup on the bike? Not just the head unit but also it’s mount, cables and sensors?

    Aside from $, I am making weight a criterion when comparing the Edge 500 (plus Power Meter cranks) to other solutions like Garmin Vector and Look Keo Power pedals.

    Thanks in advance…

  309. Anonymous

    I measured 8.00g for the mount and two rubber bands. 57.65g for the Edge–1g more than the tech specs. Dirt? I’ve calibrated my scale. I don’t feel like taking off my sensor, magnets, and zip ties. Zip tie length and mass (probably negligible) are going to depend on your crankarm and chainstay.

  310. The Garmin Edge 500 has a map view when you are following a course, but I can’t seem to display a map view to show the breadcrumb trail you have ridden since starting to record that activity like the Edge 305 does. Is this feature not existing?

    Seems odd since it can map a course, I’m not sure how important being able to view my map breadcrumbs is but I know I already miss it.


  311. Anonymous

    Ever seen a waterproof housing for swimming?

  312. None that I’m aware of, though, the unit is waterproof (you can see my immersion tests on it). It’s rated to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes.

  313. halriddle@comcast.net

    I just purchased the Garmin Edge 500. After receipt, followed initial charging and setup procedures. Moistened the heart rate strap and placed as indicated “Garmmin” label right side up when viewed from front. The monitor does not reliably pick up heart rate. In fact, does not more often than does. I have re-moistened, wiggled it around to no avail. I had my riding partner try it on and presto, works perfectly all the time.

    I am replacing a Polar 720i which has no problem picking up my heart rate.

    Have you seen or heard of this ‘phenomenon ‘ before?

  314. Joneil

    Awesome review! My dad actually got the Garmin 500 and he sent me the link to your blog. VERY extensive (and juicy) details of everything I could and couldn’t think of.

    Keep up the good work!

  315. Quick question, is there an option for alerts to go off during specified time length? Like every 45 minutes for example. Just curious. Thanks!

  316. halriddle@comcast.net

    Edge 500 (newly purchased).

    Please tell me how the altimeter works. I would like a true “ascent” or climbing feet displayed. But what I am seeing for my Edge 500 vs 310xt vs 910xt vs Edge 305 is crazy. None seem even close to the others. How closely is this related to starting point elevation.

  317. SoCarlo

    I want to make a point on the barometric altimeter.
    In order to be accurate, barometric readings have to be temperature-compensated: the pressure at any place (whatever altitude it is at) is dependent on temperature. The 500 uses these two information to provide the elevation.

    And here is the problem: the thermometer on the Edge 500 is highly inaccurate. Its thermal inertia requires a time that is too long before it provides the right reading, degrading the accuracy of the altimeter.

  318. There are a couple of websites that let you create turn-by-turn directions on the edge 500, link to bikeroutetoaster.com is the one I’ve used in the past. Its not as good as actually having the street maps on the unit, but its a lot better then constantly having to pull your route directions out of your pocket.

  319. Hi there!

    So now I could download a workout (planned with one of the programs out there) to the Edge 500 and it will have alerts and everything (as my Edge 705 does)? What about planning a workout on the device itself?

    I’m between the 500 and 800, but the 800’s price frightens me a little bit.


  320. This comment has been removed by the author.

  321. I am on my second Garmin 500 ,First one tabs broke of on the quarter turn. Second one just had one tab brake off . Anyone else had this problem

  322. Anonymous

    Great review!

    Thank you

  323. Hi Ray,

    Yesterday I took my edge 500 for a swim. Double ziplock bag + swim cap method on back of head. I turned off autopause and just did a continous swim. The accuracy was very good! The gps was unscathed and perfectly dry.

    Here is a link to the workout.
    link to connect.garmin.com

    I wouldn’t do this in a race, but for training it is great. I couldn’t even feel the gps under my cap.


  324. Thanks for the reviews

  325. Anonymous

    Hi DC Rainmaker,
    awesome in depth review, I am looking at getting a Garmin computer that can be used for both biking and running, having just signed up for my first triathlon.
    A friend recommended the Garmin 610.
    Any advice on a computer that is good for both biking and running?

  326. Alex

    I bought the edge 500 the other day and absolutely loving it. First read about it here on your blog but had a hard time ditching my beloved polar kit. So glad I did. It’s a thing of beauty this little blue and greyish thing.

  327. Ray – Any guess as to when the Edge 500 will be updated? I’m strongly considering a purchase, but would hate to lay down the cash only to see a new model come out the next month. It’s coming up on 3 years old, so it’s about time. I’m in no rush, but would like to have it for nordic skiing this winter.

  328. Given your shoes, I’d wait. I don’t have any inside information – other than just very consistant historicals.

    Garmin is pretty lockstep on releasing updates every 2 years for fitness units, and always at Eurobike/Interbike coming up in about 6 weeks. If something’s going to happen (and I suspect it will), it’ll definitely happen then.

    Just my two cents.

  329. Thanks Rainmaker, I rely on your comprenhensive reviews because you don’t sugar coat any vendor–just the facts. I currently own a Garmin 910xt. I use it for running, biking, hiking, etc.. My question is, other than the altitude option on the Edge 500, what am I really gaining. Also it appears the 500 is 2010 technology. Is there something newer or should I say better on the market?

  330. Anonymous

    “other than the altitude option on the Edge 500, what am I really gaining?”

    the swimming functions and the fact that it’s a wristwatch.

  331. I already have the watch (910xt). I was just wondering if it’s worth buying an extra piece of equipment for my bike (500 edge) if all I’m gaining is altitude and temperture updates.

  332. Anonymous

    Hi Rainmaker,
    Congratulations on the extensive and comprehensive review. By far you give the best review in the planet!
    Rafael – manila, philippines

  333. JohnB

    Fantastic site and great reviews.

    My question has to do with zones. Currently I use a Polar RS200 which shows time spent in each heart rate zone. Does the Edge 500 do the same?


  334. DB.

    Hi Ray,

    Love the site and the reviews.

    Quick question around the Edge 500 and recorded GPS files.

    Do you know anyway to clean up GPS files before uploading to Strava. GPS points often don’t align to a road and this can have an effect on beating my on PR on climbs.

    I’ve been trying Race Shape’s snap tool (strava-tools.raceshape.com/snap) but wondered what you do / of if you know of a better peice of softare / website to clean up GPS files.

    thanks & keep up the great site


  335. Anonymous

    Hi Rainmaker,
    could you please tell me if the device is able to tell you how many time you’ve spent in each heart rate zone? Thanks!

  336. Hey,

    Just clicked through your Amazon link and bought one of these.

    Nothing is ideal, but based on your reviews this was the best bike computer for me.


  337. This comment has been removed by the author.

  338. Arne

    extensive review with lots of information. I got my Edge 500 3 months ago and did quite a few trips and liked it most of the time. calibrating the altimeter doesn’t work automatically for me, even though I have set a “home” point. Maybe I am too impatient but I have to set a new “home-point” each time I want to calibrate.
    I have the glaring problem mostly when riding in varying conditions (bright sun, but in the woods with sun and shadow in fast change). Will try anti glare adhesive.

    My problem of the day:
    I have lost the magnet of the cadence (the zip is still tight around the pedal crank with the adhesive below it). I tried moving an old spoke magnet up and down the cadence sensor and noticed that it is picked up and some cadence figure diplayed on the edge.

    So my question is:
    would any little magnet be an adequate substitute for the cadence magnet?

    If not I am ready to buy the replacement parts to fix the dsc10 – but then I would get quite a few parts I did not lose.

  339. thanks for the helpful review.

    quick question, please: if you have the speed/cadence sensor attached, and GPS active, which method is used for displaying speed/distance?

    Would you expect any difference in accuracy between the speed sensor and GPS, and do you get to choose which to display?

    thanks much indeed.

    PS – your Captcha characters are really hard to read.

  340. To answer my own question, this is covered by Garmin FAQ:

    link to support.garmin.com{6af715b0-0260-11e2-e8a7-000000000000}

    When using the Speed/Cadence Sensor (GSC 10), the speed and distance will be recorded based on this sensor instead of GPS data

    I’m still interested in anyone’s experiences of accuracy, etc tradeoffs between the two methods…?


  341. In general, it depends on the situation. For mountain biking with lots of switchbacks, you tend to get better speed data via the sensor (oh, btw, you can use a PowerTap as well, as that speed sensor will override GPS).

    However, for general road riding, I’ve found that GPS speed display is more than accurate for 99.9% of use cases.

    Now, the one thing to keep in mind is that ultimately this is just display, not recording of data (unless you outright turn off GPS).

    Hope this helps!

  342. thanks!

    and good point; I suppose as far as recording is concerned, speed and distance aren’t actually recorded at all, merely calculated later, from the recorded positions?

    Which raises the question: how does the Edge handle distances whilst climbing? Is it 3D, and thus still gets it right?


  343. Opie

    Hello Rainmaker; I am looking to break into triathlons and just got a Trek Defy bike 2 days ago. I have the Forerunner 305 and 410. Am i correct in saying that I just need to get the cadence unit (via your Amazon link of course); and that effectively does some of what I would aim to do with the Edge 500 for now while I get into it? Does the $40 package have the three items in this picture? link to lh3.ggpht.com


  344. Opie, the Garmin GSC 10 “Speed/cadence sensor” (part 010-10644-00) package includes:

    – ANT+ sensor

    – rubber chainstay pad for sensor

    – spoke magnet and clip

    – cadence magnet

    – 4 cable ties

    – instructions

    hope this helps.

  345. Opie

    Thanks cdmackay – just ordered mine now – can’t wait to try this out

  346. Is it possible to upload training files from the Edge 500 to trainingpeaks using a smartphone or a tablet?

    I know it should be possible to transfer the training files to your Garmin connect account using Android devices with android 3.0 or above using the app. “Sportablet”, but has anybody tried connecting with a micro USB to mini USB cable and just copy the “fit” files to the phones SD card followed by loging on to your trainingpeaks account from the phones internet explorer app, browsing to the “fit” file and upload it?

    The mobile trainingpeaks app does not allow file uploads, hence it can not be used.

    Also has anybody tried to make a connection between the new windows 8 phone and the Edge500, because that might also be possible?


  347. Dan


    does the garmin start and stop the data recording automatic at the start and finish of a set course.

    • Martin Potblak

      When you finish your course/ride and stop moving, the Edge500 will ato-pause. If you want it to stop recording at that time you need to press the stop/start button (top right)
      To store this as a discrete event you then need to press the reset (bottom right) button for 3 seconds.

  348. Martin Potblak

    Great in depth review!
    And their temperature sensor is still way high even after two years.
    I complain and their answer is: Please update the software. (Which had already been updated!)
    Is the 800’s sensor any better?

  349. Don C

    I’m on the fence about purchasing the Garmin Edge 500. I currently use my Android phone with a Zephyr HR strap & Strava. What is to be gained by switching to the Edge besides the cadence & the ability to use on a trainer?
    Is technology coming to the smartphone market that I should hold out for a bit, such as a BT speed/cadence sensor?

    • Rainmaker

      Primarily that it’s directly in front of you on your handlebars, as well as the ANT+ compatibility and the barometric altimeter. Your phone doesn’t have a barometric altimeter, so the elevation data is probably a bit wonky (though Strava will correct that post-activity). There are actually Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence sensors out there today, Wahoo Fitness makes one (see the reviews section). Enjoy!

  350. Larry

    Great review Ray, I appreciate your indepth work here and have decided to go with the Edge 500.

    I have one question around the heart rate subject. My current HR monitor (Suunto) allows me to set up zones that are tracked during my ride, I find this very useful and informative for me, will the Edge 500 allow me the same information?
    A bit of history, I’m 65 (and have no illusions of doing a tri) and bike for pure pleasure but I’m very competitive with myself, I like to see the results and monitor improvement, I assume the Edge 500 will give me all the info I want or need.

    • Rainmaker

      Hi Larry-

      Yes, you can setup zones for a variety of items (such as heart rate and power). I find it easiest to set up the zones online at Garmin Connect, and then push them to the Edge unit. Enjoy!

  351. Chris

    Ray, been using my Edge 500 when running on the treadmill with the Garmin HR monitor and turning the GPS off as you noted. After my run today I uploaded and saw that I only had HR avg and no data points along the way for a short 30 minute run. The runs I’ve done over the past couple weeks have had data point along the way. This leads to two questions:

    1. Any idea why I would get no data but the summary?
    2. For my other rides I get data recorded at intervals I can’t explain (i.e., not every 1 or 2 seconds). I saw a mention in your review to Smart Recording but I didn;t see an explanation. I was wondering if that was a method of recording where it only recorded the data point if one of the attributes changed (in the case of my runs, HR since that is all I am capturing). Am I on the right track?

    I will add that I first uploaded the file with device agent to my PC then uploaded that file to Training peaks. When I look at the PWX file saved by Device Agent, the one from today is 2kb vs a file from a week ago also on the treadmill that was 9kb. However if I look at the .fit file on the Garmin directly the one from today is 5kb vs. the one from a week ago that is only 3kb (possibly because I did a couple intervals today so if my assumption about smart recording is correct there would have been more change and hence more data points recorded). I’ll mess around and see if I can get it straightened out (maybe I can upload the fit file directly, never tried) but just thought I’d see if you had any insights.

    • Rainmaker

      Hmm, that’s odd. Even in Smart Recording mode, you shouldn’t see that, you’d see at worst 10-30s in some weird bug scenario.

      The only other thing I can think of is that your HR strap battery is simply going (plausible). Have you tried swapping that out?

  352. Chris

    Well, I still have no idea why that happened. With enough messing around I was finally able to get the file with heart rate data up to training peaks by uploading to Garmin Connect (which I never use) then exporting a tcx file and then uploading the tcx file to training peaks after deleting the other files that had been previously uploaded. What a pain.

    Now on a totally separate note, in the process of doing all this I noticed that when I uploaded multiplt files to TP it did an auto-merge. So I looked for some documentation on it and it appears to do exactly what I need since I use a CompuTrainer but the HR monitor (even the new one) really stinks so I use my Garmin to capture HR (Golden Cheetah was working on a merge utility that I thought I was waiting for and didn’t know TP had one). So I did a 45 minute ride last night and tried testing the merge and it didn’t merge like I wanted. Somehow it still shows the ride as 45 minutes but it laid the two files back to back as 0-45 and 45-1:30 in the data and graph. The oddity I noticed was that the Garmin file that had been using Smart Recording (I uploaded it 2nd) actually showed “stopped” at every point where it had been using Smart Recording. Made me wonder if I should turn Smart Recording off and maybe it would work. Have you ever tried (I noticed from your pic that you had/had a CT as well)? Also, the Smart Recording doesn;t appear to be as Smart as I thought. Instead of recording at every change there appears to be a threashold which in my case with the HR monitor is 3bpm. So it only records a data point if it changes 3bpm, which I’m not a big fan of. I couldn;t find any documentation to indicate if that was configurable or not, any idea?

  353. Chris

    Forgot to respond to you question on HR battery. It is brand new and not the problem because when I uploaded to Garmin Connect all the data was there, so for whatever reason the save from Device Agent just dropped it. I’ll chalk it up to a one time thing until it happens again 🙂

  354. Andrey

    I was unsure to buy an edge 500 or FR310XT, after checking your site I have really clear in my mind what I need. Thanks Ray!

  355. Primoz

    DC, great review…as always 🙂

    My questions (Edge 510) are:

    1. What’s the max. possible zoom at map/course page? Is it adjustable with +/- buttons?
    2. Will Edge 510 show certain named markers/checkpoints created via MapMyRide, Basecamp, etc. involved in course?
    3. Is elevation page and it’s graph also shown with regular log file (as on Edge 800 f.e.) or just with VP & course following acivated?

    Thanks & regards from Slovenia

    • Janne

      1. & 2. If you really need the mapping and routing the 500/510 is not for you. Go with the 800/810, they have what you need. The route function is something of a “last resort” when in foreign terrain but not something I would like to rely on in biking at 40+ kms/h.

      I have been successfully using the GPSMAP60 in terrain a lot without any maps, but that’s at walking speed. Things get very different when speed increases.

  356. Greg

    Great review. Amazing detail. Recently, I lost a data file from a race. I contacted Garmin, but they were unable to find it either. Would you happen to have any suggestions on how I might recover deleted or lost data files from my edge 500?

    • Rainmaker

      The best bet for recovery of data is really the Garmin Forums. Folks there are always willing to pitch in and see if they can help, especially if a file can be extracted.

  357. Dave Gunns

    Fantastic review! Thanks so much! I have a small problem but haven’t worked out if it is just a setting. I’ve noticed on reviewing the data after the ride that the track appears to cut corners so the actual length of the ride is not that accurate. Is the solution just a setting adjustment?



    • Rainmaker

      Double-check that Smart Recording ISN’T enabled, you want 1-second recording. Smart Recording would be closer to every 4-7 seconds. Not ideal.

  358. Dave Gunns

    Thanks so much!!

  359. foolmj42@gmail.com

    Purchased the garmin edge 500 based on your review data. Thanks for the discount with clever training.

    Ride on…


  360. Thank you for your comprehensive review! I got my Edge 500 one week ago. 🙂

    I was glad to see that the fit-format doesn’t cause too much trouble. I could even import it to runtastic, which doesn’t officially support files other than gpx and tcx. I suppose the Garmin Plugin converts fit-files before handing them over to the website.

    • Rainmaker

      Indeed, in the two+ years since writing the review – the major item that’s changed is that most apps now support the .FIT file format. And honestly, those that don’t probably aren’t worth using.

      The other item of note change-wise is the addition of the TSS/NP/IF TrainingPeaks Metrics, which came in a free firmware update.

  361. Josh

    Did you test the battery life with the GPS off? Is that value published? I have a 35 hour event on the schedule and am wondering if the 500 would last that long without GPS.


    • Rainmaker

      I have not tested the 500 with the GPS off. Some of the other units that have similar GPS battery life as the 500, end up about 2.5x with it off. Fwiw..

  362. janerney

    How do you change the zoom on the elevation profile in courses? Thank you

  363. mike

    Love all your reviews, thanks for taking the time to put them together. I have a 310xt right now that I use primarily for MTBing. It does the job for the most part. I started using courses with the watch and one thing that I don’t like is lag time it has to redraw the course ahead of me. Today I tried it out and had to back track a lot of times because the it wouldn’t draw fast enough and then it would tell me I was off course. I was wondering if the Edge 500 has the same issue of if it can draw out the maps faster. I’m viewing the map at 120ft or so. Thanks!

  364. mike

    Oh just wanted to note too that I have the latest firmware update.

  365. Paul

    Hi Ray,
    superb stuff you are doing , love to read your reviews becaus here i can find the thinks i want to know ,unlike 99% of the other”indepth reviews”.Thanks for that 🙂
    Is there a way to see afterwards the %
    gradients of the climbs you have done ?(would be nice if you could see %gradient when playing the route back on your PC).
    Is there a way for doing this(maybe i am doing something wrong ,probaly ;))
    I cannot find any documentation on this.

    P.S. sorry for the bad writing , hope i did not make to much mistakes.

    • Rainmaker

      Not on the Garmin site itself, but there are other sites that I see from time to time that show gradient afterwards (TrainingPeaks being one). Of course, on the unit itself you can see it during ride, but history is a different story.

  366. Frank

    -I found a great deal on a Garmin Edge 500 on Ebay, but it looks like it may come from either China or Tiawan. Should I be concerned that it has different software or anything else?

    • Rainmaker

      It’s hard to say. I’ve heard that there were some wonky early variations between the Taiwan units and those sold in the US that made the firmware restricted. I don’t now where that stands.

      I’d probably shy away from it.

  367. Jon

    Can a powertap sl+ pair with the edge 500 and 910xt at the same time? So both devices are getting power data?

    • Rainmaker

      Yes, no problem at all. ANT+ devices can be paired to multiple head units/computers at once. It’s what I do when doing power meter comparison tests across multiple devices (one PM to 2-3 head units).

  368. Jim McGurl

    Great review of the Edge 500…learned some new features about my unit. However, two quick questions…You mentioned the 4 small holes on the back of the unit are to help with temperature readings. I use the out in front mount from Garmin and have recently discovered that those 4 tiny holes are covered when securing the device to the mount. Could this be why my temperature reading is always warmer than friends with the same unit even an hour or so into a ride? Also, does this throw off the units ability to read elevation? Lastly, when syncing the unit to garmin connect, is it best to hit enable or leave it as default – disable. I have heard multiple answers and am still unsure of best approach.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Keep up the awesome work. Really enjoy your site.

    • Rainmaker

      Yup, absolutely. If it’s keeping a bit of a shield there, it would definitely impact things. Also, it would throw off elevation readings potentially too. Though, for the most part I haven’t seen it impact that as badly.

      As for the settings on Garmin Connect, the answer is kinda a case of ‘it depends’. Typically for barometric altimeter devices like the Edge series, it makes sense to leave it off – as the elevation data is usually pretty good.

      But, if you suspect there are issues with the altimeter, then you’ll want to swap it over to enabled for that activity. For GPS-based units (like the Forerunner’s), then definitely stick with Enabled.

    • Luke

      There are obviously issues with the temperature support on this otherwise awesome unit. With more and more garmin devices coming with support for the Tempe unit is there any chance Garmin will give the Edge 500 support? Would be so easy to buy one, clip it onto the back of my bike somewhere and totally forget about it, and would get better temperature data (and therefore, better altimeter data).
      Not a big issue, but would be cool!

    • Calum Mackay

      I read somewhere that it’s the temperature of the air at the pressure sensor itself that is important for pressure -> elevation calculation, not the temperature of the ambient air outside of the device. So a tempe wouldn’t help with better altimeter data, I think.

  369. Stefano

    Hi DC, thanks for your phenomenal reviews!

    I have an Edge 500 and often train with power meter. I would like to see the power in the course display by changing the data field.
    I saw in the comments that Marcus already asked you this question some time ago, but you was not completely sure if it is feasible..
    Any news? It is maybe possible to update the software to have this function working?

    Thanks, Stefano

    • Rainmaker

      Not to my knowledge, they added the ability to customize it within the Edge 510 – but it didn’t make it back to the Edge 500 to my knowledge.

  370. kajero

    I just ordered the Garmin Edge 500! You review helped me decide. If everthing you say in the review is true I am going to be more than 100% happy about this new gadget. It was great to get the discount, too. Thanks for such a detailed review. The only issue I have is I am going to actually get on bicycle and ride to see how it works. 😉

  371. Calum Mackay

    new firmware: Edge 500 software version 3.20

    link to www8.garmin.com

    Changes made from version 3.00 to 3.20:

    Fixed display of power meter serial numbers.
    Made changes to support manufacturing.


    The changes don’t seem that exciting, but it’s reassuring that we’re still getting some support, at least.

    Shame they don’t fix the “battery percentage gets stuck on 100%”, which I’ve just run into. Workaround: let the device run itself down until it powers off (first disable “Auto Power Down”), then it should be fine.

  372. mpulsiv

    Is it possible to set the unit to use distance/speed metrics to rely on circumference of a wheel measured with a full spin by a user rather than default 700c wheel, which is inaccurate. In other word, can GPS still be used as a map but not be used to calculate distance/speed? The reason I’m asking is because GPS is not accurate based on my finding using Forerunner 610 unit as a cycle computer. Thanks.

    • Rainmaker

      Yes, you can specify the wheel size. Note though that the wheel size is used for display of speed/distance while the GPS is on, but the actual recording is done via GPS.

      For road-cycling, GPS tends to be pretty darn accurate for most purposes. It’s mountain biking where you may get better accuracy with the wheel speed.

  373. mpulsiv

    So there’s no way to record speed/distance using ANT+ sensor like Bontrager? I have been using Forerunner 610 solely relying on GPS in last 1500 miles or so. When I compare to my hard-wired Kinetic computer calibrated manually, I see delta. Distance is one thing but when average speed and top speed is incorrect, that’s red flag for me.

  374. mpulsiv

    That’s a bummer. I appreciate the accuracy of wired computers where duration is based on metric as soon as rear wheel starts to spin. After syncing my Forerunner 610 (recording via GPS) with Garmin connect I end up editing every workout using Kinetic wired computer to ensure accuracy. I thoroughly read your reviews of O-Synce Navi2Coach. Does it function the same way with ANT+ sensor? Thanks.

    • Rainmaker

      Hmm, I’d have to double-check on that. I do know if you post a quick question on that to the O-Synce review, those guys are super-active in answering the questions as well.

  375. mpulsiv

    I reached out to Garmin support. They stated GSC 10 sensor overrides the data from the GPS satellites, even with GPS enabled. In other word, GSC 10 sensor takes precedence in gathering data. After 90 minutes ride, I compared metrics with my wired Kinetic computer. I set wheel size to manual, which is 2080mm in my case (circumference of Conti 4000S 25c rubber, pumped to 100 psi, with 162lbs on the saddle). If you want precise accuracy in speed, sitting on the saddle makes a difference in circumference of the rear wheel!

    Speed and cadence metrics were identical compared to my wired Kinetic computer. There was no delta! Unfortunately there was a delta in duration (captured by GPS satellites) and distance. I don’t understand why Garmin didn’t include auto-start feature, where trip duration will trigger as soon as wheel magnet is close to GSC 10. Auto-pause feature can be set to “When Stopped”, this is useful except for delay. I stop and GPS still thinks about it. It’s so simple with wired Non-GPS computer to rely on wheel magnet and speed/cadence sensor.

    I wonder whether auto-start can be triggered when GPS is off. Edge 500 does appeal to me but I’m not sure whether it’s worth to upgrade my Forerunner 610 – versatile for sports.

  376. Hi Ray,
    Do you have any experience with the cue notifications popping up late by approx 50-100 feet. I usually find I’m told to “turn left/right” shortly after I already made the turn. I have tried this on tcx files from both ridewithgps and bikeroutetoaster and both the same result.
    Any suggestions on troubleshooting this or reasons why this might be happening?


  377. Rand Moss

    Thank you so much for “all” the information. when spending that kind of money you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal and the best bang for your buck. This was a great article kama not overwhelming. I have since ordered my Garmin 500 and look forward to using it, again tha
    nk you for your effort to inform us of all the pros and cons device has to offer us

  378. Jeff

    This question is really to anyone on the board.
    I’ve imported the maps I need from Map My Ride and have no problem seeing them, but was wondering if it was possible to view data on the map screen? I added multiple data fields on the screen but as I scrolled through the list, nothing seemed to be the map. My riding buddy and I were trying to maintain a certain speed (I wasn’t doing a very good job), but I also wanted to make sure we weren’t getting of course, as we did early in the ride. I suppose I could just have it flip back and forth between the map and another screen that has speed, etc, on it. Just thought I’d see if I could get it all on one.
    Any information is much appreciated.

  379. Thanks DC Rainmaker for this great review, it led to me buying the Edge 500 and I hope I’ll get it delivered today.

    However, I am a bit confused about which strap I need to mount it on the wrist. On the German Amazon website, the 310xt strap does not seem to include the mount, at least according to the picture. Do I maybe also need the quick release kit to make it work?

    Cheers, Robert

  380. Ben Warner

    I was just wondering if it is possible to use the data field Calories from fat without a New Leaf profile?

  381. Chris

    Hi Rainmaker!

    Is it possible to change the data fields while im doing a course? I want to see My cadence or HR while riding on a new course!

    Im not an athlete but i love to do 3-4 hours rides for training and fun
    Is it worth for me to buy edge 500 for me? Now im using a ciclosport with cadence and HR meter but im really thinking about to buy some pro stuff like the edge 500 🙂

  382. Dave Gunns

    Something pretty freaky happened to my Garmin 500 on my mountainbike last week. I noticed the display started constantly shifting to the right and scrolling down while I was cycling. The screen also started displaying vertical lines. I stopped, switched the device off, then when I rebooted I could hear it switch on but nothing displayed on the screen. I eventually plugged it into my pc and did a firmware update but it made no difference. I still have no screen display. Any ideas?

  383. Dave Gunns

    Hi Rainmaker,
    Many thanks for your advice,
    Please forgive the ignorance but what would the process in a hard reset involve?

    Grateful regards,


  384. Geoff

    Hi Ray,

    At the moment, I use my FR210 for both running (my primary activity) and cycling, but would like to monitor/record my cadence when cycling, and I’ve found a good deal for an Edge 500 and another for the GSC 10 Speed/Cadence sensor.

    My question is, can I pair my FR210 HRM with the Edge 500 when I cycle and, if so, will it affect the pairing with the FR210 when I run?

    Or, is their a better/simpler/cheaper way of monitoring/recording my cadence?



    • Yup, you can pair it to both. In fact, that’s how I do all my testing. For example, I just returned from a ride a few minutes ago – and had my HR and speed sensor paired to 5 different head units.


  385. TMLW

    Thanks as always for the great review Ray!! Can I use my Garmin heart rate strap from my 910xt with the 500 thus being able to buy the less expensive version and still have heart rate?


  386. Josh

    I have had my Garmin 500 for quite a while now and I charged it fully yesterday. Went to ride today and it said the batter was at 2%. Im pretty sure I did not leave it on, but am testing to make sure. Any tips if it wont hold charge anymore?

    • Lithium-ion batteries typically have a limited number of charge cycles (typically between 500 and 1000). But a charge cycle is not what you think it is (its not using it until empty and then recharging to 100% nor is it using it for 5% then charging to 100%), and they don’t like being stored at 100% charge without being used.

      In general, charge it, use it, use it, use it; and repeat…

      It may be that the battery has had its day, but it is possible that letting it go completely flat before recharging may ‘reset’ it.

  387. Scott

    Any news of Garmin discontinuing the Edge 500?

  388. Neil

    Ray firstly thanks for this site but I think I’m now at information overload! I’m 45 and have just started getting in to running and cycling and after completing my first HM and Sportiff this year I want to up my game.

    Do you think I should go for the Edge 500 and FR610 or 220 or opt for a one box solution FR310xt.

    I currently use runtastic and strava with a cheap seperate HR watch.

    I have a budget of about £400.


  389. Mihai Mandeal

    Hi Ray,
    Your reviews are great, but you must have already read this a million times, so I’ll cut to the chase:
    I train for my first IM. I decided to buy the Garmin Vector but I do not know what head computer to pair with it. I currently use the Polar RCX5 which I really like.
    Would it be better to buy the Garmin 500 (I don’t see the use to pay the difference for the 510) and use it for the bike training, and during the race just for power monitoring?
    Or should I go for the 910XT? – is the price difference worth and is the 910XT big enough for the power monitoring?
    Thanks for the answer and keep doing what you do because you do it damn good!
    Best regards

  390. Tony

    Hi Ray, thanks for the review. One bit of info I was unable to find is if you had the edge 500 programmed for different bikes. I have just got one and noticed only settings for one bike. Much like in your picture for setting data fields. Have reloaded all the latest firmware 3.20 and reset it use the three buttons on the side but still only an option for one bike?
    Thanks for any help.
    Cheers, Tony

  391. Tony

    Found it. Couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Thank you so much.

  392. Sam Brasel

    “While Garmin doesn’t make any power meters themselves, they do….”

    Rainmaker, I think this claim is in need of an update. 🙂

  393. Pete Loeffler

    Great Review. I have used the 500 for several years and I see I have only scratched the surface on what I can do with it. Like it. I want to get the 500 Neutral for my wife. Someone said the neutral is the old version they had problems with. Is the Neutral, purchased today, the same as the blue or red? Thanks for the feedback.


    • Identical version. In fact, technically speaking the Black/White color variant came after the original blue option. 😉

      Still, same firmware, internal guts, etc… just a different color option.

  394. Thank you for the amazing and in-depth review! I just started shopping for a new cycle computer after my current one got wet from my first triathlon. I think it’s time for a good upgrade. I’m definitely leaning towards this piece of equipment now.

  395. Susan Kelly

    Hi, I have a garmin edge 500 and sometimes when I have not downloaded between rides, the next days will be combined as one on the first date. Can there be a control on this. I have stopped and turned it off overnight and next day the distance starts where I left off yesterday.
    Also in the initial setup; settings,system,initial setup,? run at next start up Y/N? Is this controlling the above problem.
    kind regards

  396. Tony

    Hi sue,

    Yes you can control this. After pressing stop at the end of your ride( top right button) you need to press and hold the reset(bottom right button) for 3 sec’s till it resets.

  397. Nick

    Whew, what a read! 1 question that I hope I’m not re-visiting: Early posts regarding Smart Recording indicate that 1-second recording is not possible w/o a power meter (and later can’t be turned off), but it seems a later post regarding choppy mapping suggests making sure Smart Recording is turned “off”. Is it now possible to use 1-second recording w/o a power meter? Thanks, and I must say you have the patience of a Saint!

  398. Tom

    Thanks. Great reviews.
    I have read conflicting information and many people in