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Hands-on: Garmin Edge 520 Plus with Mapping

Garmin-Edge520-Plus-Mapping-Overview

Today’s multi-pronged release of cycling gear by Garmin is probably the company’s most decisive yet at fending off competitors to its lucrative head unit business. And in some ways, they’re probably even undercutting their own high-end head units to stave off competitors.  For starts, we’ve got the new Edge 520 Plus. That takes the previous $249 Edge 520 and adds full-blown mapping to it (including turn by turn navigation), along with a handful of other features like rider to rider messaging. The cost? A mere $30 price increase to $279USD.

Then they’ve got the Edge 130 – which is sorta like an Edge 520-lite, carrying a huge number of features into a relatively tiny lightweight device.  That unit appears targeted at the Lezyne product line as well as long rumored Wahoo MINI+GPS units. In many ways, I think I’m actually far more impressed by the Edge 130 than the Edge 520 Plus.  But you can read all about the Edge 130 in my full in-depth review.

And lastly, there was the new RTL510 bike-light radar combo-dish. That’s cool too, though not really game-changing. And they don’t face any radar-specific competitors either.  Still, nifty stuff.

This post, however, is about the Edge 520 Plus, so let’s dive right into things.

What’s new:

Garmin-Edge520-Plus-Secondary-Display

There’s a few ways I expect that folks will try and explain the Edge 520 to potential suitors.  Be it a bike shop or another review site, there’s basically two core ways to look at it:

A) It’s an Edge 520 with full-blown routable maps
B) It’s a smaller Edge 820 without the touch screen

Or I suppose, even one more way:

C) It’s a smaller Edge 1030 without the touch screen

But in reality, none of these ways is super exact.  The closest is variant ‘A’ above, but it goes a bit more than that.  The reason that answers B/C aren’t exactly correct is that the Edge 520 lacks a couple of core things that those units have, specifically:

– Doesn’t have point of interest (POI) or address database searching seen on the Edge 820/1030 (but does have the new Yelp app which kinda fits that hole)
– Doesn’t have advanced FirstBeat training load/recovery metrics seen on the Edge 820/1030

There’s also more nuanced things of course like battery life, WiFi, touch screen, etc… But from a features standpoint, those two items above are really the biggies.

But because you’re here for the details, let’s compare exactly how it’s different from the ‘original’ Edge 520 first:

– Added full map set for display of roads/routing
– Added turn by turn navigation capabilities, also route recalculation
– Has Trendline popularity routing engine overlaid atop the new maps
– Added Rider to Rider messaging (introduced on Edge 1030 last summer)
– Added two mountain bike trail apps loaded by default (TrailForks & Yelp)
– Updated Strava Segments algorithm found in Edge 1030 that is more accurate for racing segments
– Added slight differences in data page/field layouts
– Added new Extended Display mode for Garmin FR935/Fenix 5 integration as a secondary display (Edge 820/1030 will get too)
– Beefs up by 2g more than the Edge 520 (63g vs 61g)

Note that both the Edge 820 will also receive the Strava Segments update functionality as well as the Rider to Rider messaging, and the Edge 520/820/1000/1030 devices will get the new TrailForks app.

But what if you were roughly comparing it to the Edge 820 or Edge 1030? Well, here’s a handful of features that those units have that the Edge 520 doesn’t (beyond the obvious, like a bigger screen):

– Edge 820/1030 has a touch screen, Edge 520/520 Plus doesn’t
– Edge 1030 connects to Bluetooth Smart sensors, Edge 520/520 Plus/820 lack that hardware
– Edge 820/1030 has point of interest database (for things like restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, etc…)
– Edge 820 doesn’t have Trendline popularity routing, Edge 1030 does
– Edge 820/1030 can route to a specific street address on the unit itself (I.e. 123 Maple Drive, New York, NY), the Edge 520/520 Plus have to have pre-defined routes (Note: The Edge 520/520 Plus can, however, do turn by turn navigation route to previously saved points)
– Edge 820/1030 have WiFi, Edge 520 series doesn’t
– Edge 1030 has latest FirstBeat driven recovery and training load metrics, Edge 520/520 Plus only has a limited subset for VO2Max and Recovery Advisor
– Edge 1030 is compatible with secondary battery pack, Edge 520 Plus/820 are not

As you can see, the list isn’t huge – but it’s certainly different. For someone that always has a route created ahead of time, then the Edge 520 Plus will likely fit the bill just fine instead of the more expensive Edge 820/1030.  Whereas, if you’re more of a touring person that starts the morning by manually entering your end address into the unit (or by selecting a point of interest), then you’ll want to sway more to the Edge 820/1030.

Of course – if you don’t need maps at all but still want to stay in the Garmin family, then you may want to consider the also just announced Edge 130.  Don’t let the ‘100 series name fool you’, it’s got highly customizable data pages and even supports power meters.  Plus course following and a boatload more.  I’d actually say it’s the most impressive item from today’s line of new Garmin stuff.  Oh, and for how this all compares to non-Garmin options like the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT? Hang tight – I’ll cover that down below in the post.

Now, I’ve detailed all of this and boatloads more in a full video here.  This includes hands-on with the device across virtually all the new features.

In any case, let’s get cookin’!

Mapping & Navigation:

Garmin-Edge-520-Plus-Routing-Engines

As a general rule with the Edge 520 Plus, it’s essentially an Edge 520 with a few extra features.  As such, I’m just gonna make this non-review post focused on the new Edge 520 Plus-specific stuff.  You can hit up my previous Edge 520 (non-Plus) post for a picture of more general stuff that’s been around for almost two years now.  But fear not, in my full Edge 520 Plus In-Depth Review, I’ll dive into the general/usual stuff again for good measure.

So let’s talk navigation. There’s some nuances here that are important to understand, especially if you want to compare this unit to the Wahoo BOLT.  See, the Edge 520 Plus contains a complete mapset for the region you buy it in (Europe, North America, etc…).  As part of that mapset you get routable maps that have roads and road names on them.  In addition, you also get Garmin’s new ‘Trendline Popularity’ routing data overlaid onto it. This basically tells you which routes cyclists are actually using.

The value in that is that historically Garmin or others would route you on the shortest possible route between two points.  Whereas with trendline popularity routing they’ll give you what is the most efficient for a cyclist. An example given to me was a runner that wanted to cross a college campus.  Below is the satellite view of the campus, and to the right is the Treadline popularity data overlaid atop it. Basically, like heatmap data.

SatView Routing2

Previously the shortest path was meandering through various buildings to get to the other side. But the popularity routing data showed that runners in that area widely used a ride that just rotated around the campus.  The extra distance was small, but the path was far better.  You can see the two routes side by side below.  To the left is what traditionally would have been given since it was shorter, whereas to the right is what’s returned to the person instead.

Routing1 Routing3

That’s popularity routing in a nutshell.

But let’s get to the core of what’s different on the Edge 520 Plus versus the Edge 1030/820:  The Edge 520 Plus doesn’t natively contain any point of interest database, nor the ability to route to a specific address.

Instead, you must have a pre-created route downloaded to the device to navigate with.  That can come from Garmin Connect mobile, the desktop app, via USB cable, or…most importantly, via Connect IQ apps like Strava or Yelp.  These routes show up in the ‘Courses’ section of the unit:

DSC_3454

There is, however, one exception to this: Saved points

With saved points, you can save your home, office, or nearby Chipotle on the unit and then route back to it at any point.  Most importantly though, it’ll use legit turn by turn navigation to get you back to that point, no matter where you are (no courses required).  That’s a huge difference to something like the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT, which lacks the ability to do that on the device.  Instead, you need the phone app for that (though, inversely, that has some benefits too).

You can also use these saved points mid-ride, if you just wanna abandon your planned route and get the fastest route home.  Additionally, you have the option mid-course to ‘Back to Start’ via either the route you came out on, or via the most direct route. As an aside, if looking at the core menu difference in navigation between the Edge 1030 and the Edge 520 Plus, you’ll notice how the Edge 1030 has both the ability to search for places as well as just wander around the map looking at nearby shops/POI’s.

DSC_3450

But let’s talk about how I’ve been using routes and maps on the Edge 520 Plus for the last three weeks, and that’s via the Strava Routes app.  That app came out last summer, and allows you to ride any route you have saved in your Strava account.  Essentially the app downloads a copy of the route to your Garmin, and then it simply tells the Garmin Edge device to open up the course like any other course. Once it does that it’s no different than courses you’ve synced from Garmin Connect or any other source.

Garmin-Edge-520-Plus-Routing-Engines DSC_3398

After you’ve selected a route it’ll show you the route stats, like the map, elevation, and distance metrics:

DSC_3402 DSC_3404

And finally, you can select to ride the route to get it loaded up. Prior to that, you’ll have selected the specific activity profile to use, and as such it’ll launch with that activity profile upon selecting the ‘Ride’ button:

DSC_3401

At this point it’ll start to ‘calculate’ the turns for your route.  And this is where I’ve been having some fairly significant delays. Far more than past Garmin devices. I could sit for 4-5 minutes outside in the cold, and it’d only have gotten 30% of the way done.  In theory you can start anyway, but in reality, it didn’t always work that well.  But more on that later in this post.

DSC_3409

Calculation timelines aside, you can start riding once you’ve gotten the purple line showing your route.

DSC_3413

As you ride it’ll display the upcoming turns, just like an Edge 820 or 1030 would.  It’ll show you the name of the street you’re turning on, and the distance to the turn:

vlcsnap-2018-04-17-22h37m25s808

And if you miss your turn? It’ll notify you that you’re off course, and after a short period, if it gives up on your ability to turn around, it’ll give you updated instructions to get back on course.  And this is another key difference between the Edge 520 Plus and the Wahoo ELEMNT/BOLT: The Garmin will give you specific streets in the directions back to course. Wahoo will simply give you a general compass direction back to the route.  Also, the Garmin will essentially allow you to skip a section and catch-up, since it’s re-routing with the entire course in mind.

Now, that specific capability may not matter to some, but it exposes some of the differences.  The reason that difference exists is because Wahoo actually has a partial map on their devices. Sure, it shows you roads – but it doesn’t actually know the names of those roads.  Instead, that data comes pre-loaded from the specific route you’ve added to your device.  That’s why certain routes on the Wahoo Bolt don’t give proper turn by turn navigation, because those routing providers don’t include that data.  Think of it like a manifest, that manifest includes the turns and street names in the route itself – not on the device.  If you go off course, the Wahoo unit no longer has that list of streets.

Don’t get me wrong – plenty of people, including myself, make that work just fine.  But it is really important to understand when comparing the products.

In any event, back to the Edge 520 Plus.  As I noted, I’ve been routing everywhere and anywhere on my Edge 520 Plus the last three weeks.  And by and large, it’s gotten me where I needed to go.  I pre-create virtually all my routes on Strava, and then use the Connect IQ Strava app to sync it over. All that works great.

About the only complaint here is that I still lack a good way to just enter in a given point within the Garmin Connect Mobile app and route to it via the Edge 520 Plus (akin to what Wahoo and Lezyne both have).  This means in some cases where I don’t care about the route per se, but more about the destination – that I have to do more work.  I suspect Garmin would argue that’s what the Edge 820 and 1030 are for…but my wallet would disagree.

However, there’s a bit of a solution there for that too…and that’s the new Yelp app released today.  Before you pass judgment on a review app, understand why it’s so interesting for cycling in the next section.

As far as configuration options go, there’s a handful of those too, which you can see below.

DSC_3363 DSC_3364DSC_3365 DSC_3366

Most of the above have been present on other Garmin edge devices in the past, so they aren’t too much of a surprise.

New Apps:

DSC_3620

There’s two new apps that were announced today (both of which are coming to a wider variety of Edge units including the Edge 520/820/1030).  These apps are totally designed with the routing and navigation aspects in mind.  They are TrailForks (primarily for mountain biking) and Yelp.  Yes, the same Yelp you use to rate your least favorite restaurants.

See, what Yelp is doing here is effectively acting as a point of interest (POI) database for your Edge device.  You can launch the app to find nearby restaurants, bike shops, and other Yelp-rated things.  In some ways, this is better than the generic Garmin POI database found by default on the Edge 820/1030 because you get ratings context as well.  To crack open the app you go into the Connect IQ area and select Yelp:

DSC_3622

Then you’ll choose a given category.  I’d kindly suggest that perhaps they reprioritize Food and Cycling as the top two items in the list, and then put Beauty Salons a bit further down (or not at all).  At least you’ve got options for that mid-ride perm.

DSC_3623 DSC_3624

From there you’ll see a listing of establishments in that category near you:

DSC_3625 DSC_3626

You can select one of those and you’ll be given a small picture of it as well as a bit more info about it (this part isn’t quite working for me yet for some reason).  After that, it’ll create a route to it and hand it off to the usual Edge routing engine to get you there.  If on a non-mapping device (original Edge 520), it’ll simply give you a breadcrumb trail there.

(Update: Here’s two screenshots of it on an Edge 1030 with the preview/photo piece)

204 211

If you were to have asked me yesterday if I’d find any value in having Yelp on my Edge device, I’d have laughed at you.  But in this case, it’s actually a pretty interesting, creative, and most importantly – useful – implementation. Kudos.

Next, there’s the new TrailForks app.  This comes from the popular TrailForks platform, which focuses on the mountain bike segment.  This too is accessible within the Connect IQ apps section, and also leverages your phone connection via Garmin Connect Mobile.

DSC_3628

Once launched you’ll be able to find nearby routes, favorited routes, as well as popular routes:

DSC_3629 DSC_3630

After selecting a given route you’ll get a bit more information about it, before the app hands off the route to the Edge course engine for routing (identical to both how Yelp and the Strava apps work).

DSC_3638 DSC_3641

From there you can either start the route as-is, or if you’re not immediately at the starting point you can get routing information to the start of the route.

Again, both of these apps will be coming to other Edge units shortly (like, tomorrow) – so these aren’t Edge 520 Plus specific. I’m looking forward to poking more at the TrailForks app at Sea Otter day one.

Why this post isn’t a review:

DSC_3430

In the little world that is my site, I generally categorize product focused posts into four buckets (which preface the start of the post):

My Thoughts On X: This is when I haven’t seen a product in person, and I’ve gotten so many requests for my thoughts on it anyway, I usually give my thoughts here.
First Look: Usually reserved for products I briefly see at a trade show/convention/etc, without being able to use the product in its natural setting (outdoors)
Hands-on: Generally for products that I’ve been using out in the wild, but aren’t ready to ship yet
In-Depth Review: For products that the unit is on the final hardware/software, and is shipping now (or within a couple days).

I’ll admit that sometimes when I’m tired late at night during a trade show week the First Look/Hands-On labels get mixed and matched. But the general intent is above.

As you might expect, the detail that I can dive into for each post is deeper the further you get down that list above.  The more time I get with a device, the more I can pick it apart.  At the same time, if a device isn’t fully baked, then writing the end-all-be-all review doesn’t make sense if it’s not shipping to consumers.  Once a device is shipping to consumers, it’s fair game for a review. Prior to that, it’s silly to ‘punish’ a company because they handed over a beta unit. Obviously, I’m going to note where there are gaps and where things aren’t working.  But I’m not going to judge it entirely on that.

With that backstory – as of yesterday morning, my intent was to write an Edge 520 Plus In-Depth Review for today.  But that was predicated on the unit shipping ‘immediately’, as in, basically the next few days.  Which was also the plan.

Unfortunately, my time with the Edge 520 Plus hasn’t entirely been positive.  Specifically, in navigation.  I’ve had a hell of a time with the turn by turn prompts and alerts working properly.  Specifically, the issue is that I’d get a prompt for an upcoming turn at the 500m prior marker, but the actual information (map/icons) about that turn would be missing.  Meaning I’d have no idea what I was supposed to do.  And in some cases, I’d get no turn alerts at all.

vlcsnap-2018-04-17-22h35m33s127

(You may be thinking the camera is just washing out the above photo, and that’s true…but that’s just because the entire bottom portion of the screen is blank.)

In effect, the one thing the Edge 520 Plus was supposed to do compared to the Edge 520, it wasn’t doing right.

Now, it didn’t fail to enumerate those details every single time. Instead, it failed intermittantly.  I couldn’t quite figure out the pattern, and neither could Garmin, despite 41 e-mails exchanged on the topic with their engineering team and countless files and logs shared. Until yesterday.

It’s at that point they were able to pinpoint the cause of the issue, which actually appears to be a result of my new home: Amsterdam.

Specifically, the density of the cycling maps in that area was causing processing delays during rendering, primarily in cases where I would make two turns quickly back to back.  The Edge 520 Plus will cache ahead of time an upcoming turn, but it wouldn’t cache the secondary turn that immediately followed.  Thus, blank information in dense areas…but more success in farmland.  It’s also why, when I went to load a route at the beginning, it’d take a month of Sundays to calculate. Seriously, like 4-5 minutes for even 20-30% of the route to complete (only a 30-mile route).  It was incredibly frustrating.

As a result of which is that Garmin has decided to delay the shipping Edge 520 Plus (originally slated for the next few days) until they can sort it out.

Note, this wasn’t the only issue I’ve seen. I’ve also had freeze-ups and phone connectivity issues. I can’t say with any certainty that the phone connectivity issues are the fault of Garmin or my iPhone. In neither scenario was data lost, the unit would simply stop responding to button presses, but the track was preserved.  And the track and related data is and has been just as good as on the Edge 520 (many of my recent Strava uploads are from the Edge 520 Plus).

Beyond those two issues, the unit worked great. To be clear – I’ve been doing virtually all of my riding in Amsterdam and surrounding areas the last three weeks with the Edge 520 Plus.  I get where I’m supposed to go, my collected data is good.  It’s just that sometimes I swear a lot at it while I miss a turn and have to backtrack a few seconds and do it again the right way.

All of which explains why I’m waiting for my full in-depth review since Garmin has delayed the shipments until they can sort out what can be done to address this.  Once they start shipping, I’ll dust off my review and let it drop.  But I can say the short version of said review is that if they solve this (or, if you don’t live in Amsterdam), then for $30 more dollars than the original Edge 520, it presents a fantastic deal for legit turn by turn mapping. Nobody else offers that anywhere near this price point (see above on why the Wahoo ELEMNT/Bolt is different).

Wrap Up:

DSC_3619

If you just read the section prior to this, there probably isn’t a lot more to say (and if you didn’t read it, please do).  But setting aside those pre-production bugs, the Edge 520 Plus is essentially what people have been asking for, for years. A small and inexpensive cycling unit that had mapping. Sure, the Edge 820 checked off the small part, but not the inexpensive piece. That’s where the new 520 Plus hits the spot.

Now as I mentioned up above – there’s a critical difference between the Edge 520 Plus and the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT. Sure, both can do turn by turn directions, but only one can do it self-sustaining.  And only one can re-route you on the fly back to the course or back to a saved point.  The Wahoo unit lacks the street level detail to do that.  Whether or not those two differences matter to you though is a totally different question however.  But for only a $30 difference, it’s going to put serious pressure on Wahoo this cycling season.  Of course, that also sidesteps the reality that some people are purchasing a BOLT merely because it’s not a Garmin. This doesn’t really change that portion of the equation.

Nonetheless, the Edge 520 Plus will probably soon become one of the defacto Garmin cycling units that people look to pick up, in the same way that the existing Edge 520 lead the way there too (though the BOLT has been gaining steam).  With the maps now built-in and Garmin’s smartphone app for routing getting easier and easier (and more features there on the way), they’re filling in the gaps that people have complained about for years.  All this competition has been good not just for them, but more importantly us as consumers.

For me, I rarely use the POI functions of the Edge 820/1030, so in many ways this is perfect unit for me. If I’m routing, I’m doing so via Strava Routes and synced to my device (or, with Garmin Connect routes via Easy Route).  Again, this fits that gap. Plus, it means I don’t have to deal with a touch screen (no matter how well it might work). Sometimes I just like buttons.

With that – thanks for reading!

You can now pre-order the Edge 520 Plus. Garmin has the units in production, and at this point it’s waiting to address the issues I noted above before shipping. It sounds like that’ll probably occur in a few weeks.  If you pre-order via Clever Training you’ll help support the site and get free shipping [Europe Link here]. Plus, you’ll earn points you can spend on other products. I expect I’ll release my final in-depth review whenever Garmin starts shipping, so if they can’t address the problem you’d still be able to cancel your order if you think the issue impacts you. 

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190 Comments

  1. Tom W

    Hmmm, no thanks.

    I’ll stick with my Bolt, and, with fingers crossed’ wait for a Wahoo announcement over the next week for some new goodies.

  2. Geraint Morris

    For me not so much of an upgrade from the existing unit. Have they increased the beep volume for the turn-by-turn notifications from the existing 520? I miss them most of the time if I’m concentrating elsewhere

  3. Tiago

    Hi Ray,

    From the 510 to the 520, the device lost the ability to change the scale/zoom of the profile/altimetry page. Can you check if they restore it again?

    Best Regards

  4. Fernando

    Buggy software on a Garmin Edge? heretic! how dare you suggest such a thing!

    hey look, it’s the 18th, this may be the month my 810 makes it through without loosing any of my rides! only 12 days to go…

  5. Steve

    Sorry if I missed it but what’s actually changed hardware wise?

    Sound like it has the same battery capacity (Garmin say 15 hours for both)
    Has it got the same barometric altimeter set up
    What’s the storage capacity now? Does it take whole countries?

    Thanks

  6. Sebastian

    Hi Ray,
    could you explain the extended display mode a bit more? Simply hold the two devices side by side and then the Edge is simply mirroring the datafields of the watch? Can I press lap on the edge and it will trigger the watch?

    Thanks in Advance
    Sebastian

    • You pair it similar to any other sensor (an Edge 520 Plus/820/1030, combined with a Fenix 5 or FR935). Then it kinda acts like a Varia display would, except the Edge is the Varia display.

      I should have the appropriate beta FR935 firmware today to give it a whirl and show more details on it. Hang tight!

    • 6co2000

      Why would one want to do that? I don’t get it. For triathlons may be when the watch is the recording device and the edge just used for the bike leg? Can t really think of any other reason

    • Mike Richie

      That’s exactly when you would use it, or doing bricks (or any multi sport activity with a bike leg). Although less useful on my Vivoactive HR, it does support Varia Vision, so why wouldn’t it support this? It is an open standard, right?

    • Tien

      Also good to keep all your activities and Training Status on one device.

    • Andi

      Hey Ray,

      do you have any further information about the extended display? Do you already have the new beta firmware?

      All the best,
      Andi

    • They’re still working out some kinks, primarily on making sure the data fields ‘conform’ when transmitted from the larger unit down to the smaller watch.

      I got a FR935 firmware over the weekend for something else, but I haven’t had a chance to see if it’s fully working there yet for extended display. On my to-do list for this morning, and if I can get it working I’ll try and put together a post for later this week.

  7. Tommy

    Thanks Ray

    You made an interesting point on the self sustained routing (wahoo vs garmin). While yes, a Wahoo needs a phone to route properly, i’ve never had an issue with this, and typically you would have to stop riding to do any meaningful input anyway. For me, when I do navigate, I usually do so on a pre-planned route, so no problems using the Wahoo.

    To me, the self sustaining part of the 520 plus is then contradicted by not having WiFi. The vest majority of my rides are non navigation. With the Bolt I just ride, get home, save and its uploaded over WiFi…no phone needed. With the 520 plus, I will need to ensure my phone is paired every single time to get the upload done. That’s a bit of a fail if you ask me.

    This is all coming from a former Wahoo Bolt user who very much regrets switching to an 820 (i did so to use the radar)

    Still, if you are wedded to Garmin, I would recommend anything over the 820. Seriously.. that touch screen is a piece of useless junk. This may be the perfect solution (NO TOUCH SCREEN)

    • Paul S.

      So you live and ride places where there’s always cell service?

    • Tommy

      Pretty much yeah. And the number of times i’ve stopped in the middle of nowhere to re-plan a route from scratch is exactly……well zero. And if I did, the number of times these day that I get no mobile data while outside is very rare.

      I’m in no way saying I cover all the use cases.

    • Bill

      I totally agree! I hate the touchscreen on my 820! This sounds like a perfect option, once the bugs are sorted

    • Paul S.

      Since I live near a big state forest, there are nearby places with no cell service (at least no Verizon service; don’t know about the other carriers, but I doubt they’re any better). For me, on board navigation is a must so that (and the ridiculous “no street names, no POI’s, no adding maps”) rules out Wahoo devices.

    • TedM

      I’m confused about your statement about needing a phone to route properly. I’ve been using a Bolt since it came out (and the Elemnt before that) and I don’t need my phone to route in any way. I need to have a RideWithGPS route loaded, but I have those synced to my Bolt via WiFi. I love the fact that I can use my phone to load a route that I don’t have (like when the guy leading the ride doesn’t get around to emailing me the route until I’m 5 minutes from the start) but that’s the only time I need my phone to use the Wahoo.

    • I am not sure that this is a wahoo killer. Wahoo is still more stable and easier to use.

      However, I am 100% sure that this is an 820 killer.

    • Bsquared

      Does Wahoo offer turn-by-turn with Strava routes? I’m not interested in converting a Strava route to RWGPS route.

    • Paul S.

      “I’m confused about your statement about needing a phone to route properly.” If you for some reason have to change your route in the middle of a ride (road closed, bridge out, etc.), you need a phone to do that on a Wahoo device. You don’t on the Garmin mapping devices, which can compute routes all by themselves

    • Nik

      Wahoo does not do turn-by-turn with Strava routes, unfortunately.
      The thread on Strava’s forum has about 1000 people asking for it, and yet Strava refuses to include the turn-by-turn directions when syncing a route to a Wahoo device. Perhaps there is some politics involved behind the scenes.

  8. Joey

    You are a world class site for what you offer.
    Please get your grammar correct. The noun and verb should agree in number. It is a bad habit of many lazy English speakers.

    • chukko

      If you wanted to be constructive, you could have listed the specific mistake.
      Ray fixes those quickly. (yes, even he is not a error free robot).
      Now you just posted a useless rant.

    • John B

      Impeccable grammar, terrible manners. Does one matter to anyone without the other?

    • Cory

      Have you heard him talk? Ideas, references, experiences, asides, all tumble out at the cyclic rate. He can barely move his mouth fast enough with all the knowledge that spews out. I imagine his writing is the exact same way. Fire-hose.

      We’re here for tech. Period.

      If you want impeccable grammar go hang out with Dear Abby.

      This site is for slow twitch geeks who want the best information on the latest gear. Your autistic interactions with perfectly comprehensible speech aside, we get what we want and the minor details like noun and verb agreement that upset hall monitors like you don’t detract one iota from this place.

    • Joey – Sorry I missed something. I was re-writing the review and turning it into this non-review piece at 4:45AM-5:30AM this morning on four hours of sleep, so, I no doubt I missed something with lack of sleep.

      As Chukko noted, I usually do fix errors very quickly when raised, though without a specific item, it’s honestly hard to figure out what precisely you’re referring to. You can also use the contact form too.

  9. Brian

    Did you do real-live batter testing with the 520 Plus doing navigation? I have a 520, and the battery lasts seemingly forever– it easily hits Garmin’s published 15 hours. I briefly had an 820, and that one had horrible life with navigation. It would not make it to 6 hours. It is a far cry (using navigation) from Garmin’s published 15 hours.

    Can the 520 Plus hit 15 hours while performing its more feature-rich navigation?

    • Reuben

      I have never had my 520 hit the full 15 hours. While following a route, it used to last about 10, but nowadays it probably has a 5 hour battery life. I purchased it in 2015, so it’s about 2.5 years old now.

    • simon

      probably nothing to do with the age of the 520 – last year garmin pushed out a firmware version that killed the battery for many of it’s 520 users.

      maybe something like apple did ! at least they apologised and back tracked – garmin have accepted they’ve done it but are still putting their head in the sand over fixing it.

      maybe it was a sneaky way of getting us to upgrade

    • Bsquared

      The weird thing is, after the firmware upgrade, a few times I’ve had my 2.5 year old 520 battery last around 7 hours, but generally it lasts longer. The alarming thing is that I see 50% battery remaining after 2-3 hours, but then it keeps going for ~7 hours.

  10. Andrew

    Would the Bolt be capable of updating their mapping to include live-updating with a firmware update?

    Also, wink twice if you think we’ll see anything at Sea Otter regarding the Elemnt Rival.

  11. Matthew Bartsch

    So will they are offer a software upgrade package at a cost or is that even possible? Would be nice for most of us that have just the standard Garmin 520.

  12. E.G

    Does acitivities add to the firstbeat trainingload stats in garmin Connect?

    • Chad Vacarella

      This issue has bothered me for a year now. Unless I track my rides, activities on my watch, the Garmin firstbeat trainingload stats don’t reflect it. Garmin should find a way to receive this information from Garmin Connect so that the firstbeat trainingload stats are accurate on the 935. I’ll be interested to hear Ray’s thoughts.

    • Andrew M

      Supposedly there is a significant update coming this month on Garmin Connect that will allow better intergration of the Fenix 5 series/935 and the Edge series.

  13. John

    Does the 520 Plus have a light sensor for adjusting modes in an ANT+ light network, screen brightness, etc.?

  14. Martin

    “But you can read all about the Edge 130 in my full in-depth review” – when?

  15. Greg

    Looks very promising once they iron out the bugs. But I’m confused by the 520 plus naming instead of 530. All the other edge devices have been upgraded to the x30 series, and the three-year cycle would indicate we’d normally be due for the 530 this summer. So is this a stop-gap release until July? Or are they changing their historic release schedule? I realize you cannot comment on unannounced products, but did they address this issue in any of their 520 plus announcements or other disclosable discussions?

    I’d like to get a new head unit, but if a bigger release is coming later this year, I can wait.

    • Mike Richie

      Just a guess, but because they are essentially using the same hardware (just adding more memory), it doesn’t receive a a new model number. They can then refer to all 520s When they need to. It probably, however, is fulfilling the update cycle for the 520.

    • Only making guesses here, I have zero information. But, see how hotly competitive this price-point is in bike computers, it seems possible that there may be another device like this coming from Garmin before long. The behavior that triggers this for me is the timeline of the 200-series Forerunner running watches (also a hotly-competitive market). You’ve got the 220 that came out in September 2013, the 225 that came out in May 2015, and most tellingly, the 230 that came out in October 2015. I don’t recall exactly when the 225 was discontinued, but it was actively on the market for a dramatically shorter time than the 220 and the 230. The 520 Plus has a different naming convention, but still…

  16. Larry

    Hi DC…I’ve been MTBing a ton lately here in Colorado. We have extensive trail systems. Will this unit be of any benefit to me?
    Thanks, Larry

  17. Garoputo

    Can the lack of FirstBeat/training load metrics here be accomplished with a Garmin wearable? In other words, the combination of an Edge 520, FR935/f5, and HRM?

  18. Jan

    Ray, wondering if you can comment on any changes in the workout page? Specifically, I was hoping to be able to customize this more with a 3sec power instead of instantaneous and also the ability to have a second target range visible like cadence. Thanks

  19. Chris

    Love the Missouri shout out in the video.

  20. BCM

    Ray,

    Does the hardware upgrade for mapping support include a bump in CIQ fields from the 4 provided with the 520?

  21. Patrick

    I wonder if you can acquire maps for other regions. I like to go to Europe a couple times a year and, while the current procedure I follow with my current 520 works, it’s not exactly easy. And, if I add Open Street maps, would the procedure be exactly the same? Will they still have the routing capability?

    • Sander

      When you have a Android phone, try OSMAND and the iq connect/android app Navmin (beta version) on the 520. It’s the best of 2 worlds, generate routes (without the needs of internet) on your phone and ride routes (with most streetnames displayed in the screen) them with your 520. No needs for maps on your 520, this also increase batterylife on your 520, because the 520 doesn’t have to display them.

    • m1h0k1

      Sounds great, would this work on the new 130?

    • Sander

      No, because you can only install ciq datafields, no apps. The normal 520 is the best and cheapest way to go.

      My solution provides better routes then Garmin connect, because it haves streetnames and is more accurate at small crossings.

  22. Patrick McInty

    Can you expand on “There’s also more nuanced things of course like battery life” when you have more time?

    I have a couple friends with 1.5 year old 520 units that are lucky to get half of their originally quoted battery life.

  23. Brent

    Is this free for 820 users?
    This seems like a betrayal for those who purchased the 820. I’ve had enough of this nonsense from Garmin.

    • Mike Richie

      In what way? It is less capable than an 820. If you don’t like touch screen, get a remote.

    • Brent

      Typical Garmin apologist attitude here.
      Garmin releases a junk GPS with terrible touchscreen. Solution is to buy a remote, yeah no thanks.

      The 520 plus is an 820 without the problems.

    • Peter

      One could say the same to the 520 upgrade: navigation issues, solution is to buy the more expensive 520 Plus. Yeah, no thanks.

      The 820 (with remote) is a 520 Plus without the navigation problems. Plus with WiFi. And POI.

    • Hans

      Typical Garmin hater attitude.
      I have a 820 and touchscreen works flawless even in rain and with gloves. Of course not iphone-like but in a way that should not produce crybabies like you.

  24. Sean

    I split my time between North America and Asia. Will Garmin allow both sets of maps to be uploaded?

  25. George

    Thanks for the reviews and explanations. I was trying to figure out the differences and Garmin site wasn’t that helpful. As an aside, having lost my Edge 800 about five months ago, the quickest way to get me to buy a new Garmin product would be to drop the 1030 price by $100. As it is, my somewhat irrational behavior is to live with no Garmin and just use Strava and Ride with GPS apps on my iPhone while I wait for Garmin to loosen up on the 1030 price.

  26. Stef

    Hi Ray,

    Do you know if the battery capacity will be better than the Edge 820? This is a serious issue with the 820. Thank you.

    Stef

    • simon

      It’s also a serious issue with many 520 users who are seeing a battery life of around 4 hours

      Garmin have really dropped the ball in recent years

  27. Wow, Garmin holding off on shipping to fix a navigation problem? I didn’t expect them to do that. In the past, they’d have just shipped it and fix problems later, treating their customers like beta users. I’m very glad you’re finding these issues.

  28. NOAH PENE

    Does the Garmin EDGE 520 PLUS use the same antenna design and RF chipset as the Garmin EDGE 520, which experiences frequent dropouts with power meters and their own Varia Radar?

  29. Doug H

    Wondering if you’re tried your Karoo in your new surroundings and if the routing — particularly the quick turns in succession — are behaving any better on that? I’m far from a Hammerhead shill, but with recent software updates and another due tomorrow (Thursday, April 19), I’m wondering if you’ve had any additional thoughts.

  30. Tim

    I’d be interested to know if the limit for strava segments has also been upped since there is more storage on the device.

  31. John B

    Garmin pretty much lost me permanently as a customer as a result of sloppy handling of bugs over the past couple years of using their products. Above all, constant bluetooth disconnection over the past 6 months on my Fenix 5, where my iphone just wouldn’t know it existed for days at a time. My coworker experienced the same thing on his Pixel with his Garmin 735. I’ve since sold all my Garmin stuff on eBay, but he’s still dealing with the same sloppy bluetooth crap. I’ve switched to the Bolt from the 520 and have been really happy with it so far. I can even set it up on my phone like it’s not the early 2000’s anymore! My impression is that Garmin is just too bloated and disjointed as a company and just can’t keep all their ducks in a row in terms of software updates. Every update brings new bugs. It’s an endless cycle. Except on MY cycle. Garmin’s run on my cycle has come to an end.

    • I have a Wahoo Bolt. It’s nice as long as you don’t go off course and have a good internet connection on your phone. Out in the boonies (say, Carmel-by-the-Sea in California) where cell signal is hard to come by, I found that my ancient Garmin 800 routes way better than the Wahoo unit because of the onboard maps. And the Wahoo is even less reliable about the bluetooth connection to your phone than my Garmin Vivoactive HR.

  32. Sean

    Did they upgrade the hardware at all to help with the lag between switching screens or navigating through the menus? That is one thing I really hate about the 520 that the Bolt doesn’t have.

    The elephant in the room is the battery life, especially with all the new ConnectIQ dependent apps and navigation features.

  33. Larry

    +1 on the can Upload OSM maps

  34. Robin

    Maybe I missed it, but is a person now able to download maps onto the 520 for those cases where the base map doesn’t cover an area or doesn’t sufficiently cover an area? I guess a related question would be how much has the memory increased in the 520 Plus over the 520?

    Does this new 520 Plus herald the future arrival of a better, more feature packed 820?

    • Luke Cooke

      Yes you can dowload detailed maps on the 520, but you have only space for 1 city. Search on this website and you shall find how to.

    • Bsquared

      @Robin – on my 520 I loaded OSM maps for Northern California, including Sierra foothills, Sacramento metro, San Francisco Bay Area, and down to Monterrey. Its a fairly big area, and not restricted to one city.

  35. Paul Hutton

    What I am super interested in is the extended display mode feature. Did you get a chance to test that and how does it work? Does it display workout metrics from the watch while still allow navigation, etc., from the Edge?

  36. Simon Sheehan

    With the edge 520 now 3 years old, I wonder if this is just a band aid to prevent market loss to wahoo until the edge 530 is ready in a year or so.
    I don’t think upgrading from the original 520 is justified, and if you haven’t upgraded from the 510/810 so far, I wonder if it would be better to wait another year for a 530, unless this new 520 plus pushes a full replacement back to 2020/21

  37. Ian Ballantyne

    Does this have a slot to support SD cards to load maps/routes? ++1 on the openmap support questions

  38. HUSSAIN BOLT

    Hardware changes compared to 520? Or in other words my man Ray, can the 520 be made to function like the 520 Plus through a firmware upgrade? Stay cool and be fast. BOOM!

  39. Markus

    Is there a trade-in program for 820 owners? I’m still so frustrated about that crappy product Garmin sold me for so much money. However, something like a trade-in program would even me consider trying this one. Anything to get rid of the 820 without having to spend more huge sums of money.

    And for my part any comparision with the “higher” mapping functions of the 820 lacks the fact that these functions are often not usable because of the crappy touchscreen and the poor battery life.

  40. John

    I’m really surprised/disappointed that this didn’t include the Training Load metrics. Can you provide any insight into why they left it out?

  41. Bsquared

    Robin, I’ve had a 520 for 2.5 years and never used the base map. Immediately after purchasing I followed the instructions on this site to replace the base map with a free map.

    • Sander

      Why you want a map on such small screen?

    • Explorer

      Why do you need a big ass screen on a bike for maps?

    • Sander

      When I am cycling I have my phone with me. Much bigger screen, much more cpu power for calculating routes.

      I only use my 520 to follow a track. I create routes on my phone in osmand (it doesn’t need internet and haves a lot route/map options) and send the gpx/route to my edge 520 with navmin. I think this is the best of 2 worlds.

    • Sander

      Oww it generate routes with turnbyturn info!

    • Bsquared

      @Sander I’m in mid 50s and can still see maps on my 520. A quick glance down towards my handlebars gives me enough information to make snap decisions and plan for upcoming turns while riding at 20mph / 32kph. I have no reason to put mount phone on handlebars.

    • Sander

      @Bsquared you misunderstanding me/or I am not clear. I ride with a 520 on my handlebar, but when I like to reroute, I take my phone and make a new route on my phone. My phones gives me a big screen with much more and quicker overview of the nearby area, because of the big screen and much stronger cpu.

      I use the 520 because it haves better batterylife, is better readable in daylight and much smaller and less funeral.

      My solution doesn’t need internet and gives better routes then Garmin connect, because it haves streetnames and is more accurate at small crossings.

    • Sander

      (after recalculation I will send the route to my 520 with the help of the ciq app Navmin . Navmin makes a translation from gpx to fit (only the beta supports it) and will send it to 520 with Bluetooth)

    • Marcin

      Few more details:D in navmin (in beta – link to play.google.com) you can eg.:
      – create new route from scratch,
      – import TCX/GPX
      – import TCX/GPX/created route as segmen, and then import thsi segment via Navmin for Garmin to Garmin devices (link to apps.garmin.com)
      – “to inject” segment into created route.

  42. FrankJ

    Still just 2 data fields on the map screen? If so, I’ll never buy a Garmin. The day they change that number to 4 I’ll possibly return as a customer.

    • Sai Wot

      What planet are you from? You can customize the number of data fields… or what do you actually mean? Decimal points?!

    • simon

      yep – only 2 data fields allowed on the map screen

      maybe a bit too crowded if they had 4 ? although it could just be a refresh/cpu power thing

    • ekutter

      And they can’t be CIQ fields, so the customization is limited.

    • FrankJ

      Read my friend. MAP screen, not a regular screen.

      As always, the maximum is 2 which is really not enough for those who want to ride without TBT like myself.

  43. Niko

    Would the regular 520 be capable of these mapping features through a software update?
    Instead of buying a new hardware I would be willing to buy an extra software update to enable the routing options.

  44. I think you have missed an important point in this and the 130 review! (or I missed it)

    The colour scheme of the devices seems to much more reasonable, no more silly white or blue accents.

  45. Nigel Van de Velde

    So turn by turn navigation still seems problematic in a dense city environment… This problem has been there for ages, it’s a pity they don’t seem to be able to solve this.

    Maybe a tip for them. Take the turn by turn instructions from a cue sheet just like Wahoo does. And only create custom cues when you are diverting from the preplanned route. This way you get the best of both worlds. The instruction reliability from Wahoo and a better “Garmin-style” off-track experience. As this is most likely less cpu intensive, I guess it will save some battery as well.

    Kind regards,

    Nigel

    • Bsquared

      @Nigel, when running RWGPS routes on 520 the turn-by-turn instructions are taken from a cue sheet. There is a small 1-2 second delay in having the map change direction, but I reviewed the route ahead of the ride and am using the bike computer to understand several turns in advance. Therefore I am able to follow the route when there are only a couple houses between turns (in a densely populated areas). Because I’m riding, and having to pay more attention to cars and pedestrians, it is not possible with quick 1-2 houses between turns to look down fast enough even if bike computer was updating map orientation in real-time.

    • Sander

      @Bsquared, I agree with you. You have to practice navigating with a bike computer.

  46. Matthias van der Hallen

    > lack a good way to just enter in a given point within the Garmin Connect Mobile app and route to it via the Edge 520 Plus (akin to what Wahoo and Lezyne both have)

    But it is possible? I have some not-to-great experiences with trying the upload a route to the fenix 3 over bluetooth while tracking an activity, sadly. Come to think of it, even while it’s not tracking an activity, uploading a route over bluetooth seems to have an unexplainably low 66% success rate. Sometimes it seems to be linked to memory being full (without any indication to that fact), sometimes it just fails twice, only to succeed randomly the third, or fourth (or fifth :() time.

    But for the uncommon case where I need to navigate to a different point entirely, I would be willing to go through the hassle of taking my phone, defining the POI, and waiting a minute for it to sync.

    As a complete aside: seeing how the unit connects to the phone using bluetooth, I would expect not supporting bluetooth smart sensors is a complete business decision vis-a-vis not enabling it in software… your thoughts? Might we see some hacking/custom software over time? :)

    • Sander

      When you have a Android phone, try osmand and navmin(beta version). It give you a lot of offline options to calculate a new route.

  47. darek

    “With saved points, you can save your home, office, or nearby Chipotle on the unit and then route back to it at any point. ” does it mean i need to be on this point to save it(as in my forerruner735) or i can just upload it as waypoint?

  48. Howie

    What I’m hearing is that 520+ is risky business for little return, that the 820 isn’t worth much at all because of the screen, and that the only real ‘upgrade’ from the 520 is the 1030. Thus, save the 520 for races, and use a 1030 for all other rides. Anyone care to comment?

    • Sander

      I use my 520 only for following routes with tbt info and have a forerunner 935 for logging my rides/races.

    • Andrew

      I have no problems with my 820 screen, it took a year worth of updates, but it’s finally pretty decent.

    • ekutter

      I too use my 935 for day to day riding (with the quick release kit). I have a 1030 for when I I’m riding in unfamiliar areas and need the map. Upgraded from an 810 because the display was so hard to read in many conditions. The new 130 seems like it would be a better day to day bike comp but my 935 fits the bill just fine.

    • Sander

      @ekutter, I also have the quick release kit. I hoped I could use the 935 for navigation, but the 935 haves his limitations. The maximum of 50 route/way points is the biggest.

  49. simon

    hi Ray

    3 quick questions:

    iPhone notifications – still calls and SMS only ? (why not whatsapp or granular like on android/fenix5)

    backlight – does pressing the backlight button bring up the backlight level setting or actually turn the backlight on ? (another odd an annoying choice for the 520 compared to the 800)

    can you load your own openstreetmaps like other edge devices ?
    thanks

    • dizpark

      +1 on this question

      >>>backlight – does pressing the backlight button bring up the backlight level setting or actually turn the backlight on ? (another odd an annoying choice for the 520 compared to the 800)

      It might seem like trivial matter, but the backlight implementation on Edge 500 was much better, but Garmin bollocked this up on Edge 520.

  50. Jeff

    Any word on the Yelp app coming to watches? Seems like even without street names and turn by turn directions, it would be a feature that would aid in the every day smartwatch competition.

  51. Mike Richie

    Hi Ray, thanks for the great review (again). Wouldn’t it be possible for someone to create a CIQ app fairly easily that would provide Nominatim (OpenStreetMap address lookup) data the same way that Yelp does for POIs? I assume this just provides a waypoint dataset. This would pretty much eliminate it’s main disadvantage over the 820. See https://nominatim.openstreetmap.org

  52. Sander

    When you have a Android phone, try this;

    1. Install OSMAND, generate a route and export gpx file into the downloadfolder.
    2. Install Navmin (beta version) on the phone and import the gpx file.t
    3. Install Navmin on the 520 and import the file.
    4. Start the route and ride it! It haves turnbyturn info with streetnames!

    No need for maps on your 520👍 (deinstall them, maps decrease batterylife), no crazy long map updates with your computer, oww waite see goodbye to yoir computer!

    It’s the best of 2 worlds, generate routes (without the needs of internet) on your phone (big screen, fast cpu) and ride routes with your 520(better batterylife and better readable in daylight).

    @Ray, I live nearby Amsterdam, when you like I can give you a demonstration 😁

  53. Raymond

    I’d like to point out 2 more points against the Wahoo:
    1. It still can’t do turn-by-turn when importing from Strava. Same if you load a gpx supplied by your cycling club or cycling event. Heck, it can only do turn-by-turn if you manually (re-)create one on Ridewithgps, who has time for that?
    2. Even when you have the cues in on the Wahoo, it displays a simple arrow with the text ‘left on …street’, which isn’t very clear, specially in busy areas. The Garmin will display the exact turn for you (see image 18/38), no need to view the map page at all.

    • m1h0k1

      Sounds great, would this work on the new 130?

    • Nik

      Yes, (1) is true.
      (2) is partially true; if you’re looking at the map page, you can see where the route is going overlaid on top of the intersection that you’re about to enter. If you’re looking at any other page, you just get a simple arrow and the text as you said.

      Wahoo doesn’t currently have all the mapping/routing functionality that Garmin has. But Wahoo has the advantage that all the functions they have work reliably every time. No dropped data, no crashes, etc.

    • Raymond

      (2) Exactly my point, I want to see my data page, unless there’s a turn coming up, without switching back and forth to the map page. On the Wahoo I can’t do that in busy areas which is unacceptable for me.

      I guess I’ve been lucky in the sense that I tend to buy new electronics when prices have dropped, which is probably also when most of the bugs have been ironed out. I’m still using my Edge 705, which still works flawlessly, no freezing data losses or whatever, the battery is still good, the unit itself looks like new. Maybe after that everything became worse?

    • Paul S.

      I guess you didn’t have the 705 for the first 6 months of its release, when there were plenty of problems, including freezes. It also has navigation flaws that were never fixed (when I was riding a route with a loop attached to an out and back, it would often try to send me around the loop again as I completed it). But after the first 6 months it was a good, reliable unit so long as you didn’t trust it entirely when navigating. (And that’s when I formed my “never buy a new Garmin device within 6 months of release” rule.) The 800 that I replaced it with was even better, and a case can be made that the 800 was the best cycling unit Garmin has made. But the 1000 I use now works fine, and I’ve gotten used to having the completed ride sent to Garmin Connect before I get in the door. Having notifications sent to the screen is occasionally useful (and occasionally annoying) when it works. And you can’t run Connect IQ on a 705 or 800.

  54. Thomas E.

    Tom,

    It’s funny. I am considering Garmin because I found the quality of software and hardware from Wahoo to be a disappointment.

    Several bugs in their IOS app, the Wahoo display lasted about 1.5-2 years before it would start chewing up batteries, and now won’t come up at all. And the reed relays in the speed sensor failed in about a year of light/moderate use. I had 2 of them. As well as a few bugs in the display that left it not usable until they had another patch/update.

    Wahoo’s products look compelling, I just don’t want to be a beta tester for their products again.

  55. Thomas E.

    How about handling multiple bikes with multiple sets of cadence and speed sensors?

    thank you.

  56. Magnus

    How many live segments can you load in to the 520 plus.

  57. Laura

    What’s the battery life like in real life? I’ve been planning to get the 1030 because I need a long battery life.

  58. Toni E

    Thanks DCR for a great site regarding fitness product reviews and hands-on “pre-reviews”.

    Regarding 520 Plus, what can You tell about battery life when training or navigating? And especially compared to wahoo elemnt bolt?

    Thanks again and keep up this with Your stunning page.

  59. Greg W

    Hi Ray, can you clarify on this comment from the article:

    “– Edge 1030 is compatible with secondary battery pack, Edge 520 Plus/820 are not”

    I use an auxiliary powerpack while riding with my 520 from time to time if I forget to charge or if the ride is very long and it works fine. I just want to make sure this will work on the Plus.

    Also, can you put in a word width Garmin about having a data screen for 520/520 Plus that shows both map and elevation profile? Because that would be really useful….

    • Bsquared

      @Greg that is a little confusing…. When Edge 1030 was introduced, Garmin also launched the Garmin Charge Power Pack link to buy.garmin.com

      The 1030 has a special battery charging port designed into the quarter turn mount. With the 1030 and Charge Power Pack, there are no cables required to charge your 1030 during a ride.

      Like you, I carry a small Anker PowerCore battery pack on long rides, and if needed use that to charge my 520, Varia radar, Bontrager FlareRT, and phone.

  60. J wolf

    Does anyone know exactly how much memory storage will be available on the plus?

  61. Syed

    Hi Ray,

    Not sure if this was covered, but was wondering if the 520 price will be cheaper or stay in that $249 region?

    Thanks!

  62. Paul Trapp

    The Garmin 520 literature states it has a new bright screen. Do you find the screen on the 520 Plus to be brighter than the 520?
    To me, the 520 screen is not as bright and readable as the forerunner 920XT, nor the Edge 1030.
    How does the battery life on the 520 Plus compare to the 520?

    thanks
    Paul

  63. Nate

    I have a 935 watch that I use to record all runs and rides now because of the training/firstbeat metrics.

    On the bike, I use my edge 810 to record a backup .fit (never needed) and to see the live data.

    The 520+ actually sounds nice as an upgrade to get text message notifications and live tracking of friends, but still maybe not worth the update if I still need to record on my watch for training metrics in one place…

    I guess my money will stay on the sidelines or perhaps investigate Wahoo…

  64. Adub

    I was one of the suckers who bought the 820. As asinine as it sounds I bought the Garmin remote as a work-around for the 820’s useless “touch” screen.

    I wonder if this unit freezes up on the start-up screen and is as buggy as my POS 820 was?

    I ditched the Garmin and bought the Wahoo Bolt, best decision I made that relates to cycling tech.

  65. Ronnie Zimmerman

    Are there any plans to extend this functionality to the fenix 3hr? This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!

  66. Carl

    “Updated Strava Segments algorithm” – any word if this will find its way to the original 520?
    It would seem this is just a firmware update away.

  67. Peter

    “Sure, the Edge 820 checked off the small part, but not the inexpensive piece. That’s where the new 520 Plus hits the spot.”

    Not sure about the price proposition: anywhere I look in Europe (Rose.com, idealo.de), the 820 is the same price as the 520 Plus, in bundle occasionally in fact cheaper.. Is it a US pricing issue, where there may be a much more favourable pricepoint? But you are currently residing in the EU and the readers are all over I guess..

    I think that (unless the 520 Plus will be MUCH cheaper than the 820) the only real benefit and reason for anyone to choose the 520 Plus over the 820 is the difference between touchscreen and buttons. There have been many complaints on the touchscreen and Garmin does not want to loose those customers, so they simply (quickly, considering the obvious issues and shortcomings of the enhanced features) equipped the 520 with navigation features, to cover that market segment as well. I wonder why they didn’t simply offer customers the choice to choose a 820 with or without buttons, but opted to distinguish this aspect between the 520 and the 820.
    As far as functionality, I feel the 820 is superior to the 520 in absolute terms, if we put aside the button/no-button issue: the 520 needs apps and connectivity to enable the device to navigate in a way that the 820 can without connectivity, upfront. I cannot imagine doing a groupride where we decide to diverge from the plan and suddenly everyone needing to connect to apps, putting in a new routing (time is ticking..) and once underway, doing the whole process over again when we decide to diverge from the alternative. That’s hardly enjoyable or flexible and for the highest price segment in the navi category, unacceptable in my opinion. Plus, abroad you’s pay nice mobile internet roaming charges for the app use when downloading maps..
    Oh, and there’s lack of WiFi.

    So beside the button issue (which is, let’s be honest, a matter of taste), who would want to buy the 520 Plus when there’s the 820?..

    • Peter

      Sorry, meant rosebikes.com of course.

    • Peter

      In addition, I wonder about the validity of all these complaints about the 820 touchscreen: at 40 EUR there is a remote, which I’m sure you can buy on ebay at half price when used, but even the 40 EUR is quite acceptable if you really hate touchscreens. Personally, I find it much easier to press on the screen where I want to, instead of pressing buttons endlessly to select what I want to press. Are we riding or pressing buttons all day? Just make sure you have the necessary screens pre-selected and you won’t have to treat your computer as a smartphone and you can focus on your ride, like in the past when no screen touching was possible and we were all dandy about just looking at data. Screen sensitivity can be set individually, don’t see an issue there either, but if you leave in a country where you get stone-hard hail every day, just get a remote ;).

      Even with this price addition you’re at the 520 Plus current bundle fare in Europe (which is 400 EUR on idealo.de vs 350 EUR for the 820 bundle), but you have WiFi, no problems with navigation shortcomings that the 520 Plus has, plus POI.
      Seems like another marketing trick to me to get all the 520-hooked fans to upgrade to something that could easily be called an inferior 820.

    • The reason the EU pricing isn’t much different is because it isn’t available yet. Thus, you don’t see retailers undercutting each other like the Edge 820, because that is widely available.

      As for US pricing, obviously that’s Garmin controlled via MAP (Minimum Advertised Pricing). So in that sense, the price difference is valid for a lot of people.

      I think once you see the Edge 520 Plus start shipping, you’ll see EU prices for it drop, thus returning the world to normalcy from a price difference standpoint.

  68. DerLordBS

    I am moving to Munich in a few weeks. Total new area with unknown routes. What device would you recommend for a road bike and a gravel bike with the focus on routing in a city? I am going to buy a gravel bike for my way to work.

    • I lived in Munich for half a year. My Edge 800 worked great there, and I took it on many many tours. I think the modern versions of that (the 820 and the 1000/1030) would be the ones to get. The Garmin European City Maps NT were also great. Please see my trips index for Munich: link to piaw.blogspot.com

  69. Rich

    Any Time frame on when some of the new features are coming to the edge 1000?

  70. Antek

    Hi Ray,

    Can you maybe share what customization is allowed on the map screen? Is there only 2 fields allowed? I just bought the BOLT and I’m wondering whether I should return it and switch to this one.

    Regards,
    Antek

    • Just checked, still only 0 or 2 fields allowed on map screen, customizable with any of the regular data fields. Similarly you can also customize the Strava Segment page in the same manner.

    • Kloekie

      Hi,

      You do not need this, when navigating and your on the data screen, when you have to make a turn 200 meters for the Turn it swaps from data to navigating screen, and switches back to data when you have made the Turn.

      So a non existing problem ;-)

    • Antek

      Sounds good, thank you!

      @Ray: Any word on the final availability dates?

    • Not yet. I received a new firmware last night that I just loaded on my unit about 2 minutes ago, heading out for a ride in a few minutes.

      That’s set to resolve some of the calculation issues I saw, as well as the freeze-ups I was seeing. We’ll see how it works out…

    • Antek

      One final thing – will you also run an In-Depth Review once you get the final firmware/unit?

    • Yes, that’s the plan.

    • Johann

      How did the new firmware go?

    • It’s improved the route calculation piece a fair bit. Still not perfect, but well into the ‘functional’ range, and mostly acceptable (still slow, but at least it mostly doesn’t impede actual navigating).

      I still had some freezes on Friday, they gave me another new firmware after that Friday night, but haven’t had a freeze on that yet on my Sunday ride. Said absolute latest firmware has additional freeze debugging in it to try and figure out what’s causing it. But since freezes didn’t happen on absolutely every ride, I can’t say for certain it’s resolved. A bit more testing to occur.

      I did actually use the ‘Most direct route’ home option yesterday morning though about 30KM away from home, which was kinda neat to see that work (largely well).

  71. Joseph Conley

    On buy.garmin.com it currently says for the Edge 520 “Estimated availability is 5 – 8 weeks.”

  72. Joseph Conley

    Correction: buy.garmin.com currently says for the Edge 520 PLUS “Estimated availability is 5 – 8 weeks.”

  73. JoPlo

    Hi Ray,

    Question:

    I can’t choose beteren 520 plus or 820 edge. I’m hanging on 2 things. First, the 520 has no on the spot navigation. Second, and on the other hand, I heard a lot of negative stories about the 820 touchscreen. Has that improved? Or is it something worth buying the 520 plus for?

    Kind regards!

    • A couple of quick thoughts:

      RE: Edge 520 Plus:

      It can on the spot navigate, as long as you’ve got those points pre-saved in the unit (like home). Or, I suppose you could whip out your phone, create a new route and send it over via BLE. That should work in theory. I actually used the on the spot navigation to route back to home on Sunday, from the middle of nowhere (about 30K away).

      RE: Edge 820 Touchscreen

      Unearthing the litany of Edge 820 touchscreen issues is long. But the elevator version of it is:

      A) Early production quality control problems made it such that no two units were alike. Some units were great, some units sucked horribly. It had to do with the layering of the display and the quality control levels in the first few months

      B) Garmin then added a sensitivity adjustment option in the unit to try and address some of that. I’d say that solved about 30-50% of peoples issues.

      C) Garmin then issued another firmware in Jan 2017, which I’d say fixed almost everyone else remaining that was within the realm of possible.

      I suspect there are still some people with early-production Edge 820’s that just have a crappy display. I actually use an Edge 820 on almost every ride, and have done so since before launch. A few different units, and I’ve lucked out (picked up via normal retail channels). Inversely, I knew some folks in person that could demonstrate early production crap.

      I’d be very surprised if you went out and bought a unit now (that hasn’t been on a shelf for a year) that you’d actually have issues with it. I think most of that is behind is for new units, though, I think residual and mostly outdated internet feedback would probably offer alternate feedback

      All that said, the Edge 1030 touchscreen is just so much easier to use (because it’s bigger) than the Edge 820 one. Which, I know, doesn’t really help your decision making progress. Personally, I see little reason for me to use my Edge 820 over the Edge 520 Plus, since I almost *never* route to a specific POI (which is the main difference). So, I’d rather just have buttons. The only reason I’d use the Edge 1030 over the Edge anything else is that it’s prettier.

      Sorry, that wasn’t quick.

    • JoPlo

      Thanks for the reply Ray! Really helpful. For me the buttons over the touchscreen is a reason to choose the 520 plus. And indeed, your comment to whip out the phone to create a new route and send it over via BLE is a perfect way to overcome the main difference between the two devices. I think I made up my mind, and wait for the 520 plus to come in stores.

    • Sander

      When you like a offline option for creating routes with tbt info (with streetnames) on your (android) smartphone and send them by ble, try the following combination;

      1. Osmand (smartphone)
      2. Navmin (smartphone/edge520)
      link to facebook.com

      What benefits does the 520 plus have excepts the route option over the edge520?

  74. Larry Newman

    Could you comment on the differences between the Garmin Edge Touring vs. the Edge 520?

  75. Carvalho BR

    Is 520 Plus compatible with XERT IQ app?

  76. Dave

    JOY. A new garmin product.

    Maybe I’ll buy one of these to fix the issue of constant GPS signal loss after 2-3 hours of use with my 520 and the steadily declining battery performance – after 2 years of use, 3 hours of riding = 60% loss. Not as bad as some who are only getting a matter of hours on units under a year old. Perhaps garmin should go back and fix their buggy firmware updates before releasing new products.

  77. Johann

    Was about to go out and get the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. Looking forward to your take now between the Bolt and 520 plus

  78. Howard Waller

    Aside from below posters about how great the Edge 800 was, these navigation issues sounds remarkably similar to the problems I had with both the 800 and 810 – freezes and lack of turn info. I wonder if Garmin just imported the same algorithm here?

    (I hope not, because the navigation on the Edge 1000 I now have is much improved over those models.)

  79. Bjoern

    Well the parallels between Microsoft and Garmin are painstaking.

    They had a good thing going, the 500 series.

    Not only because it stopped relying on touch screens, which are completely superior, because not only do they work, but also because you can use them blind – while you always have to look at the touchscreen.

    But ALSO, because THEY DID NOT HAVE THE ACCURSED NAVIGATING FEATURES THAT COMPLETELY SUCK, always did and have been messing up the 800 and 1000 series.

    WHY! All we needed was a few GB of memory to add a more detailed NON NAVIGATABLE map and more IQ apps. It could have been bliss!

    Instead they ruined it. I am feeling so much pain just thinking about this.

  80. Andreas

    Hi Ray,

    if you have added a track to follow with a valid altitude profile – are you abled to see where you are on the whole profile and can you now configure the height/distance dimensions like with the 820? As a long distance Rider this is very popular to see where you are in terms of climbing and to handle your power for the rest of the race.

    Kind regards from Germany
    Andreas

    • Sander

      Hi Andreas,

      As participater of the Trans Germany, can you explaine me why this popular? (My first bikepacking event)

      Kind regards,

      Sander

  81. Henrik

    Ray & rainmaker community:

    Does the yelp app require the Garmin to be connected with the phone? And does one then also need data connectivity to look up points of interest?

  82. Gonzalo

    Hi. I’m looking for a MTB computer for my rides. I just basically want to download tracks via Strava or Trailforks and use it for navigation. I was thinking about the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt but now that I’ve seen your review of the Edge 520 and 130 I’m in a doubt. Which one you recommend I should buy?
    Thanks.

    • Magnus

      Bolt is really bad when mountain biking in the woods. Some have problems with bad GPS reception/accuracy (including me and the two friends who have Wahoo) and the Bolt thinks you are 30-40 meters behind where you really are. It makes it a little more difficult to follow a route and is really bad if you care about results on Strava segments.

      It also reports shorter distance (and avg speed) than real distance/other devices if you do not have a speed sensor. This behavior it has even during good conditions while road biking.

      I really think Ray should make more tests in bad environment when testing devices.

    • Gonzalo

      My main use will be to follow a track I download from Trailforks or Strava so if the bolt is not that accurate as you say then it won’t be good to my purpose. For the other values like speed, etc… I’m using my Garmin Fenix 3.
      Yes, I agree the test would be usefull do be done in the woods also.
      With your feedback I think I most probably go with the 520 plus.
      Thanks for your feedback.

  83. Michael

    Please pardon the slight non sequitur…While watching a video on the Garmin 520 Plus website called “The Connected Cyclist” with David Millar, I noticed a town that is absolutely beautiful. I will be traveling to Europe this fall, and would love to put it on my list of places to visit. Can anyone tell me the name of the town? I’m hoping it’s in the Dolomites. It’s at time 0:20 on the video. Here’s the link: link to youtube.com Thank you for the help.

  84. Thomas Martin

    Ray,
    Great review, as usual! Please consider a sign up list for a notice when your in-depth review on the 520+ is published. I am sure that many of us are very interested to see if Garmin fixes the bugs that you identified or releases it, as is, to the public.
    Thanks!
    BTW, your website won’t let me click the box next to “Notify me of followup comments by email”

  85. Aaron

    I use the 520 with Openstreet maps mostly for riding Granfondos and other long courses. I’m pretty satisfied with how it works.

    What are the real navigation differences between a 520 with detailed maps and the 520 Plus? Any actual; improvements?

  86. Dennis

    Hey Ray,

    I’m new to Garmin products, having been a Suunto fan for years, but no longer doing Adventure races I realize I the 50+ when it gets released my suit my needs with the mapping and Trailforks (I mtn bike) better.

    Any idea on battery life of the 520+? I know a broad question as it will depend on all the different sensors that it could be reading (pedals, cameras, HR monitor, cadence…).

    So, say it is just HR monitor and GPS on a low sample setting (to conserve battery life), do you think it will do 10-12hrs?

    Good non-review! As usual!, thanks!
    Dennis

  87. Matthias Packeiser

    Hi everyone,

    just a short question for a topic I have not found any answer so far.

    Does the Edge 520 Plus and/or the Edge 130 support the Komoot App from the IQ store allowing to quickly load tracks from komoot?
    The official statement from Garmin is dated February 2018 and is only supporting the following devices: 520 (without Plus), 820, 1030!

    Both the 520 Plus and the 130 are released later than February and I would like to know if any of these two is supporting that. If not it would be a k.o. Criteria for me as my friends and I plan our rides with komoot!

    Thanks for any help with this.
    MatzePack

  88. mpulsiv

    I have yet to find a turn-by-turn breakdown based on device and source (e.g. Strava routes, RideWithGPS routes).

    * Wahoo Bolt – does not support turn-by turn using Strava routes, does support turn-by-turn using RideWithGPS (must be a premium member to create routes).

    * Garmin Edge 520 Plus – support turn-by turn using Strava routes and RideWithGPS routes?

    * Garmin Edge 130 – support turn-by turn using Strava routes and RideWithGPS routes?

  89. Nick

    Great reviews, thanks for taking the time to look at these new devices and share your findings. I’m on the market for my first GPS unit now (great timing it seems) and was wondering what you’d recommend, assuming Garmin fixes the bugs on the 520 Plus for me. I’m on the fence between the 130 and the 520 plus.

    I’m 90% a mountain biker and 10% a road biker and don’t really do a lot of touring so normal navigation isn’t that important to me. I want to use it for training data (HR/speed mostly), racing Strava segments (in real time), and the Trailforks functionality on the 520 is very appealing – I’d love not to need to whip out my phone every time I finish a trail in a new or unfamiliar area to work out where to go next. So basically, it’s either the 130, or another $100 for a 520 Plus just for Trailforks (and loses Bluetooth). Hard decision! Is it worth it for the 520 in your opinion?

  90. John Colson

    Hey Ray,

    Can you tell us how much free internal memory storage the 520 plus has? MB or GB? I am wanting to put multiple regions on it. Also, will an entire region download on Trailforks? Or, is it just trail by trail?

    Thanks,

    John

  91. Michael

    FYI. I contacted Garmin Support and Tomas (Product Support) actually tracked down the information for me by contacting their Sales/Marketing folks. He had the information within a few days! Here’s what he found out:

    Hello Michael,

    Finally did get some more information for you Michael. I do apologize for the delay. So the town is in the Brixen area of Northern Italy. We where able to narrow it down its either Bressanone or Santa Maddalena Italy. Maybe a good idea to check both out while you are there they both look like amazing places to visit and worth the time.

    Thank you for choosing Garmin,

    Tomas

  92. James

    Hey Ray. I got the 520 Plus in the UK via a large online retailer today, so I guess some are appearing in the wild. It’s running version 2.50 of the software. I tested the routing and it’s taking over 6 minutes to calculate an uploaded (from Garmin Connect) a 12 km course through Central London… so kind of slow. Also scrolling through the directions is slow. Can you advise if the improved software you’re testing is higher than 2.5? 30 seconds per km to load is kind of slow… Cheers, James

  93. Dave Mac

    Is the screen on the “Plus” any easier to see than the regular 520? I swapped to the Bolt specifically because my eyesight had grown too poor to read the 520. However, I am now beyond frustrated with my Bolts inability to hold connection to my new Assioma pedals/power meter. Unfortunately, I gave my 520 to a coworker.
    Also, does the 520 Plus still require being set up by toggling through the unit (as opposed to interfacing with your phone)?