DC Rainmaker

Hands on with the new Garmin Edge Touring GPS bike computer

Today (well, technically last night, just barely) Garmin announced the latest addition to their bike computer lineup – the Garmin Touring.

I had a chance to spend time with the product team last April and give them a bunch of feedback on it based on the early stages of development.

I’ll dive into some hands-on time here in a moment, but it’s probably useful to point out that if you’re looking for an Edge 500/510/800/810 replacement, this isn’t it.  This is really targeting a different (though equally as important) market: Cycling tourism.

The Touring is designed for…well…touring.  As in, multi-day bike tours.  These tours are incredibly popular in Europe, though in the states they are pretty limited (as in, basically none).  Thus think of the Touring as a highly simplified version of the Edge 800/810.  It’s not for the performance athlete.  It’s for someone who simply wants to go for a casual ride and not get lost.

Features and Functionality:

The Touring is really focused on a few core feature areas:

– Creation of impromptu round trip routes (not seen before on the Garmin fitness lineup)
– Navigation to and between POI’s (points of interest)
– Basic ride display information (i.e. speed/distance/time/HR/ascent/elevation)

Outside of these core areas much of the more advanced functionality found in other Edge units has been stripped out.

Looking at those three areas, the most interesting (I think anyway) is actually the quick creation of round trip routes from the unit itself.  To do so you’ll simply specify how long a ride you’re looking for (in either miles or kilometers).

You can also specify if you want to start the route from where you are, or from another point on the map.

Once you’ve given it some instructions it’ll go off and come back with three routes (it’s like Monty Python – everything is in threes).  It did take a bit of time (perhaps 2 minutes) to come up with the routes.  Each route is roughly the distance you’ve specified, and all routes come back to where you started.

You can select any given route option to get a map overview:

Additionally, you can click to see the elevation profile of the route:

There are a number of settings around routing and navigation within the options (applicable to round trip routing and generic routing), including how the unit routes and whether it, for example, minimizes routes with hills.

Next up we have navigation to nearby points of interest (POI’s).  These can be places to eat, monuments, or simply an address.

Garmin has pre-loaded the unit with free maps from OpenStreetMap – which is actually a pretty big shift for the company where most maps cost users money.  This past spring you saw the addition of OpenStreetMap to Garmin Connect for map creation – in preparation for this unit being offered.

While navigating you’ll be given a map view, and turn by turn directions (like a car GPS):

In addition to having the unit create a route by itself, you can also create routes on Garmin Connect and download them to the unit (called courses):

You can customize the various data fields associated with that map view as well as specifying how detailed the map is:

In total you’ll get four ‘screens’/pages of information.  You can customize a single data page (called ‘Timer’ below) as well with traditional fields found on the Edge units today (up to 8 fields at once):

One final feature of note is that the unit supports ANT+ enabled eBikes and will add in the eBike’s estimated remaining range and battery information.

The Touring does allow you to pair the ANT+ heart rate strap, but does not allow other sensor types (i.e. cadence sensors, power meters, etc…).

Comparison to other Garmin Edge Units:

I’ve put together a quick comparison table outlining the features and differences in functionality.  You can customize and create your own comparison table using the ‘Product Comparison Calculator’ feature on the sidebar.

Also, remember to click the ‘expand’ button at the bottom of the table to see all one gazillion rows of features.

Function/FeatureGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated June 9th, 2016 @ 10:58 amNew Window
Price$249.00$249.00$320$399
Product Announcement DateAug 28, 2013Aug 28, 2013Aug 26, 2010Jan 7, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateOct 2013Estimated: Nov 2013Nov 2010Jan 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSBUSBUSBUSB & Bluetooth
WaterproofingIPX7IPX7IPX7IPX7
Battery Life (GPS)17 hours17 hours15 hours17 hours
Recording IntervalTBDTBD1-Second or Smart1-Second or Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerNoNoNoNo
Quick Satellite ReceptionYesYesYesYes
AlertsSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/VisualSound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoYes
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingNoNoNoNo
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AN/AYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AN/AYesYes
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableNoNoYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoQ3 2015
RunningGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Designed for runningNoNoNoNo
SwimmingGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Designed for swimmingNoNoNoNo
TriathlonGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoNoYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoNoYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoNoYes
FunctionsGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoNoYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)TBDNoNoYes
Day to day watch abilityNoNoN/ANo
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoYes
NavigateGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)YesYesYesYes
Back to startYesYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationYesYesNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoYes
SensorsGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Altimeter TypeGPSBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeGPSGPSGPSGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNoNoN/A
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleNoYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoYesYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoYesQ3 2015
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoYesQ3 2015
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoYes
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoYesNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNoNoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin Training Center/BasecampGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin Connect (iOS/Android)Garmin Connect (iPhone/Android)GARMIN CONNECT (IPHONE/ANDROID)Garmin Connect (iOS/Android)
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Edge Touring (Normal)Garmin Edge Touring (Plus)Garmin Edge 800Garmin Edge 810
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Pricing and Availability:

The Touring will be available in the Fall of this year.  I’m hearing that’ll likely be late September or early October.  There are two variants of the unit:

Edge Touring (standard): $249US
Edge Touring Plus: $299US – adds ANT+ HR support, ANT+ eBike support, and the barometric altimeter

Ultimately, the Edge Touring is physically an Edge 800 hardware unit (thus, has the same battery life, screen size, etc…) with different firmware on it.  This practice is common with Garmin, and we’ve seen it done in other units – i.e. FR110/FR210, Edge 200/Edge 500, FR610/Golf Watches, Fenix/Quatix.  They take the same base hardware platform and slightly tweak the software to appeal to a different market.

I’ll be doing an in-depth review closer to the retail availability of the product, though in the meantime feel free to ask any questions here.  It’s a fairly straight forward unit with a simpler feature set, so there’s not quite as much to cover as compared to a more complex Garmin Edge 810 or similar product.

Lastly, do not expect an Edge 810 replacement anytime soon.  The Edge 810 is less than 8 months old (announced early January 2013, available  later that month).  Garmin product cycles are very pattern-oriented and tend to be no less than 2 years on the dot.

Thanks for reading!

Here’s how to support the blog and get a sweet deal:

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 Garmin Touring 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.

Garmin Edge Touring (See dropdown to select normal or Pro variant)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the unit (all colors shown after clicking through to the left) or accessories (though, no discount). 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.

Edge Touring (non-Plus variant):

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 November 21st, 2016 @ 5:37 pm
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar MountBarfly/Tate Labs$25LinkN/ALink
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike MountBarfly/Tate Labs$37LinkN/ALink
Garmin Edge 810 Rubber Cases (Variety of colors)Garmin$12.00LinkLinkN/A
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
Garmin/PowerMonkey Explorer Solar Charger (co-branded)Garmin/PowerMonkey$89LinkLinkN/A
K-Edge Garmin Handlebar Mount X-Large for Edge units (including Edge 1000)K-Edge$45.00N/ALinkN/A

Edge Touring Plus variant:

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 November 21st, 2016 @ 5:37 pm
Barfly Tate Labs Road Bike Handlebar MountBarfly/Tate Labs$25LinkN/ALink
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike MountBarfly/Tate Labs$37LinkN/ALink
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+ Heart Rate Strap (with Running Dynamics) - HRM-RunGarmin$99.00LinkLinkLinkLink
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)Garmin$28.00LinkLinkN/A
Garmin Edge 810 Rubber Cases (Variety of colors)Garmin$12.00LinkLinkN/A
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
Garmin/PowerMonkey Explorer Solar Charger (co-branded)Garmin/PowerMonkey$89LinkLinkN/A
K-Edge Garmin Handlebar Mount X-Large for Edge units (including Edge 1000)K-Edge$45.00N/ALinkN/A

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!

Welcome to Eurobike week! This week during Eurobike I’ll be tweeting from the exhibition show floor quite a bit, as well as posting frequently. Here’s a quick and handy link to all Eurobike-related posts.