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Garmin’s New $249 Edge Explore Full Mapping & Navigation Bike GPS: Everything you ever wanted to know

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In the lead-up to Eurobike, today Garmin announced the new Edge Explore. Now, you’ve probably heard the Edge Explore or ‘Touring’ names battered around for half a decade or so. Usually along with a numerical identifier like ‘Edge Explore 1000’, which was essentially a dumbed-down version of the Edge 1000. Previously, it’s been targeted at the cycle touring market, but I think the new non-numerically identified unit does away with that.

Nope, now it’s all about mass market and at a price that actually makes sense – $249.

The Edge Explore (kinda a simplified version of the high-end Edge 1030) includes all the core stuff most cyclists want, like full turn by turn navigation on a color touchscreen display that actually works, smartphone notifications, data field customization, and even Connect IQ apps.

What doesn’t it include though? Mostly features that are designed at more competitive athletes. For example, no Strava Live Segments (but you can do Strava Routes and upload to Strava), as well as no structured workouts or advanced training load metrics…or power meter support.  But that’s kinda it. Almost everything else it has, save a few minor nuanced type things I’ll dive into below.

I’ve been riding a media loaner unit for about a month now, and overall I’m pretty impressed by it. It works well in my experience, and especially so this morning as I rode across the countryside near the border of the Netherlands and Germany, using it as a rough guide for my 50KM ride (keeping me pointed in the right way, but letting me wander a bit and re-routing as needed).

In any event, let’s get into all the details. I will say this first though, this unit really surprised me.

The Details:

While the Edge Explore may look like an Edge 1030, it’s not quite an identical sibling.  Obviously, there are differences in software, but there’s actually some differences in size. The Edge Explore is a bit shorter (about 1cm), which also means the display is a bit shorter too than the larger Edge 1030 display.  And the width is a tiny bit smaller too, though that’s barely noticeable.

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(Left to right: Edge 1030, Edge Explore, Edge 520 Plus, Edge 520)

However, compared to the Edge 520/520 Plus/820, it’s definitely larger. Which, is frankly what much of this target market wants (often slightly more ‘experienced’ adults that may have slightly less adolescent vision).

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But it’s really all about the software here. The Edge Explore lineup started off in the touring realm, primarily aimed at the bike touring markets in Europe. Unfortunately, accountants at Garmin apparently did the pricing on it, as it just never made sense. It was often $400-$500, and usually only cost $50 less than the higher end units.  Thus, nobody bought it. The non-descript Snow White color scheme didn’t help either (just as it doesn’t now).  But ultimately it was dead on arrival with the price point.

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Not now though.  At $249 it’s incredibly competitive for this market. Sure, it lacks power meters, but for the vast majority of the market that actually doesn’t matter (as much as me and my 5 concurrent power meters would like to think otherwise).  There’s nothing on the market anywhere near this price point with full color touchscreen of this size and complete turn by turn mapping.

In any case, first, let’s talk about what’s in there:

– Turn by turn navigation, including re-routing on the fly
– Color touchscreen at 240x400px (and it actually works…see my test lower on)
– 16GB of internal storage with pre-loaded detailed maps for region you bought it in
– Ability to search nearby points of interests (food/etc…)
– Ability to import/download/create routes (from files or Garmin Connect)
– Ability to create round-trip routes based on only a total distance requirement (i.e. give me a 25mi route)
– Smartphone notifications
– Incident detection (for notifying your spouse you managed to crash your bike…again)
– Group Track (to show live on map where other riders are that you’ve friended)
– Fully customizable data fields and data pages (up to 2 fully custom pages + non-custom pages)
– ANT+/Bluetooth Smart sensor support for heart rate/speed/cadence/VIRB/bike lights and more
– Full Connect IQ support for ‘Apps’ and ‘Data Fields’
– ‘Guest mode’ for tour companies to give units to people and not have them screw the settings up

Of course, there’s also a bunch of features that aren’t there compared to an Edge 1030. It’s gonna be tough to list every little bit of nuanced ones, but here’s the key ones:

– No Strava Live Segments support (but you can upload to Strava and use Strava Routes App)
– No Power meter support (or power meter metrics like TSS/NP/IF)
– No structured workout support (meaning, download structured workouts like intervals to the unit)
– No advanced FirstBeat driven training load or related metrics (including FTP or VO2Max)
– No activity profiles (differing profiles for different ride types like mountain biking vs road riding)
– No WiFi sync (probably doesn’t matter much)
– More limited custom data pages (you can only have 2 custom pages, but they are fully customizable)
– No Varia display (and thus, no extended display mode for certain watches)
– No barometric altimeter (GPS based, plus post-upload altimeter correction)

Got all that? Good.

Of course, for some people these individual items may very well matter. For others…it might just be a shrug. Totally depends on your specific needs.

Now to wrap all these features up and walk you through the user interface and features step by step of the Edge Explore I put together this video, including some snippets from a ride this morning on it:

Still looking for more info? No worries, keep on reading then!

The Basics:

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Ok, so let’s walk through the user interface a bit, as well as some tidbits from my ride today.  First up we’ve got the home screen, as seen above. This is what you get when you turn it on. While it looks very similar to that of the Edge 1030, you’ll notice it lacks a ‘Training’ menu option. It’s that menu option that normally houses things like structured training and ANT+ trainer control.  Additionally, you lack the ability to select a specific activity profile.

Instead, you’ve got a more simplistic UI.  The main option up top (‘Ride’) takes you straight into the ride screen, ready to start…well…riding. It automatically turns on GPS and gets things going. You can turn off GPS if you’re indoors of course.  At this point in time it doesn’t have the option to select GLONASS or Galileo or any other GPS configuration other than on.

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What you see above is one of the two main custom pages.  These pages can be customized with up to 10 data fields per page, and all the variants you’d expect (like lap distance, total ascent, heart rate % max, max speed, etc…).  Probably 35-50 data fields…without typing them all out here.  So you get two of these pages for whatever you want.

But you also get a handful of other pages that are ‘stock’. These include the map page, elevation page, compass page, and the GroupTrack page – if you have a friend (aka ‘Connection’) within range.  Otherwise that page disappears.  The compass and elevation pages can have the two lower data fields fully customized. Here’s a look at a few of those (elevation is blank on this photo since I was standing in a field and hadn’t moved yet):

DSC_7547 DSC_7544 DSC_7545

To start the ride it’s just like other Garmin units where you use the buttons at the bottom for stop/start, as well a dedicated button for lap control.

Meanwhile, you can swipe down from the top for access to quick controls like sensors, GPS status, lighting, and smartphone notifications.

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Speaking of sensors, the unit supports the following types of sensors:

– ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate
– ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Cycling Cadence-only
– ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed-only
– ANT+/Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed/Cadence combo
– ANT+ Cycling Lights
– ANT+ Cycling Radar
– ANT+ eBike Support
– ANT+ Remote Control
– Garmin VIRB Action Cameras

(Note: That it doesn’t actually appear to support Bluetooth Smart sensors when I try it, but perhaps that’s just a beta device oddity [Update: It is a beta quirk, Garmin says it should be working but isn’t for me at the moment.].  Meanwhile, ANT+ Sensor types not included on the Edge Explore are power meters, gear shifting, and Edge remote.)

Here’s a look at the sensor pairing and new sensor menu:

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All of this data is then recorded to the file, and in turn to Garmin Connect.  From there it uploads to the various platforms that you’ve added partnerships to, like Strava or TrainingPeaks.  Here’s a look at an activity that I did uploaded to Garmin Connect (link here), connected to a Wahoo TICKR-X and a Scosche 24 ANT+ cadence sensor.

GarmninConnectEdgeExplore

When it comes to lights, you can control light sets as well, all of which worked pretty well for me lately actually – including for non-Garmin lights. Super simple.

As for the touchscreen itself, it’s super responsive – especially in maps.  Check out the first video up above, about 3-4 minutes into it, where I zoom around the maps. It’s almost cell-phone fast. Finally! And routing/re-routing? Given that’s all I did today (as I explain in a moment), it was super quick. Far faster than the Edge 520 Plus or Edge 820 that’s more expensive, and on par with the Edge 1030 (way more expensive).  But what about water on the display?  Well…I just leave you with this hilarious video I put together on the drive down.  The first rain we’ve had in weeks:

But let’s talk mapping. After all, if you’re buying this unit over just about anything else…it’s because you want maps. Likely even pretty maps. So all of the navigation pieces are divided into essentially two groups: ‘Where to?’ and ‘Courses’ (both on the homepage).

Starting first with courses, these are for predefined or circular routes.  For example, courses you created on Garmin Connect (website), Garmin Connect Mobile (phone app), or via dragging a file over.  Additionally, this is where you can create round-trip routes or multipoint routes. Round-trip routes are routes you specify a desired duration (and potential direction of travel), and it’ll spit back three options for the route – based on bicycle paths.  Whereas the ‘course creator’ routes are when you add multiple stops, one after another.  That’s ideal for touring where you have a smattering of points you want to visit throughout the day.

DSC_7567 DSC_7568

Meanwhile, in the case of saved/transferred routes, you can pull up details like a map overview, distance, and elevation profile.

DSC_7570 DSC_7571 DSC_7573

But what’s most interesting is the ability to specify an address of a location (like a street address), or search for a point of interest – such as food or monuments.  For that you’ll use the ‘Where To?’ option on the home page.

DSC_7575 DSC_7576 DSC_7577

This allows you to specify the category if you go that route, or anything else as a point to point route. It’ll then leverage cycling-specific data between those two points.  Garmin includes the detailed map sets for the region you bought the device in.  North America includes North America routes, Europe includes Europe routes, and so on.  They do NOT however include global detailed routes.

To expand that a bit, the loaner unit they sent me was a US-based unit, which was great when I was in the US last month.  But it’s totally useless from a mapping standpoint now that I’m in the Netherlands (this morning) and Germany (this second).  In Garmin’s eyes to solve that you’d go off and buy some expensive maps from them. Thankfully I don’t share that vision, and even more so thankfully you can download free maps.  So I downloaded the same free map set from OSM (only takes about a minute), and then I’ve got almost the same data.

I say ‘almost’ because one unique feature Garmin has is that they bake in what they call ‘Trendline Popularity’ data into their map sets (technically it’s baked atop it).  That data is essentially cycling heatmap data from the tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of activities uploaded each year to Garmin Connect.  So it’s a bit better than raw bike route/path data because it shows where people are actually going, and how they favor one route over another.  So you don’t get that if you download the free data for outside your region.

Still, the free data was great, and it worked just fine for us today.

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And that gets into a little bit on how I used this device this morning in particular.  While on previous rides I’ve loaded courses onto it as well as done just free-style riding, this morning I used the ‘Where to?’ functionality as a bit of a rough compass.  We picked out a town about 20KM away roughly down-river, and then set out riding towards it.  But we didn’t want to follow the most direct route it gave us, instead, we wanted to meander along a river and through farmland.

But that worked perfect for us actually. See, I just let it re-route as it saw fit, and sometimes we followed it, and sometimes it ‘followed’ us.  Meaning, it was probably swearing at us a few times as we ignored it yet again.  But then we’d come back to it and let it navigate us out of sticky spots before we ignored it again.  In many ways it’s exactly how most people do bike touring in Europe – a rough guideline of where to go between two points, enjoying the scenery along the way.

We did almost the same thing on the way back, this time selecting to route us back to the start (an empty field alongside the river), and it worked perfectly.  Here’s that ride:

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The part where there’s that little loop near the river/railroad? Uhh..that’s where we thought we knew better than the Edge. It told us repeatedly not to take that off-road route. Probably should have listened to it that time.

So what about accuracy of GPS data and elevation data? Like most bike computers on-road these days, I’m seeing virtually no variance of either.  The reality of the bike computer industry is that for on-road riding…shrug. Seriously, shrug. I haven’t done a review in the last 2-3 years for bike computers on-road where I could find anything GPS-wise other than complaining about a few meters offset here and there.

For example, here’s a ride showing four different GPS units (no speed sensors or anything on these, just straight GPS). It’s almost as if you only see one…that’s how close they are:

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And zoomed in to a bit of an intersection:

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You can view the whole file here on the DCR Analyzer.  I will note that elevation on that file shows the Edge Explore a wee bit flexy, but that was also two weeks ago on earlier beta firmware.

Elevation data can get a bit messier, but even that – it’s super-rare to have on-road issues and if I look at more recent files, things are definitely much cleaner.  But given I live in the Netherlands, the variance is only a few meters, so I’m really looking for wonkiness outliers more than anything.  Now…off-road, that’s a whole different ballgame when it comes to both.  Unfortunately, I’m lacking mountains living in the Netherlands now, and with that…a mountain bike.

Oh, and finally, let’s briefly chat about Guest Mode. It’s kinda interesting.  The idea behind guest mode is mainly for bike touring companies to equip their customers with a bike computer.  Within guest mode it locks down some settings (with an optional PIN too), and then allows the guest to track their own stats.

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So each of these settings seen below is then tracked uniquely for the guest, and doesn’t impact the ‘owner’.  So that includes the history (which doesn’t then show the owners history), as well as brightness levels, tones, personal records, and color modes

DSC_7564 DSC_7565

It’s a cool concept that makes a ton of sense for this particular product category.  It’s also ideal because you can pre-load routes as well on the devices, so if a company is doing the same routes over and over, they can get everything prepared on the device, and when they give the device to a new user each outing, it’s like it’s fresh again.  The option to reset everything the guest did is given when you disable guest mode before going back to regular mode.  You can’t give the guest a name or anything (such as your friend or partner).  So think of it more like a disposable account than anything else.

Device Comparison:

I’ve added the Edge Explore into the product comparison database.  This allows you to match it up against various other products that I’ve reviewed, including bike computers and watches alike.

For the purpose of the below, I’ve compared it against the Edge 520 Plus, Edge 1030, and Wahoo BOLT.  Like most comparisons, it’s not a perfect match-up, but it does help illustrate the differences.  Also, my comparison database doesn’t necessarily do a great job at highlighting the minor nuances around mapping and turn by turn navigation, especially in relation to the BOLT (which can’t re-route mid-ride, only point you in the compass direction of where you should be going).  Still, the rest is more clear.

Function/FeatureGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated July 6th, 2018 @ 10:15 amNew Window
Price$249$249$279$599
Product Announcement DateJuly 5th, 2018Mar 14th, 2017Apr 19th, 2018Aug 29th, 2017
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMid-July 2018Mar 14th, 2017May 2018Aug 29th, 2017
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB, BluetoothBluetooth Smart, WiFi, USBUSB & Bluetooth SmartUSB, Bluetooth, WiFi
WaterproofingIPX7IPX7IPX7IPX7
Battery Life (GPS)12 hours15 hours15 Hours20 hours (+ battery pack up to 40 hours)
Recording Interval1-Second or Smart1-second1-Second or Smart1-Second or Smart
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYesYesYEs
Quick Satellite ReceptionYesYesYEsYes
AlertsSound/VisualAUDIO/VISUAL + LED'sAudio/VisualSound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreat (slightly less than Edge 1000, but better in daylight)GreatGreatGreat (slightly less than Edge 1000, but better in daylight)
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesNoYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoN/ANoNo
MusicGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Can control phone musicNoNoNoNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoNoNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Contactless-NFC PaymentsnoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYesYes
Group trackingYesYesYesYes
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)YesNoYesYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoYesYEsYEs
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AYesYesYEs
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AYesYesYEs
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYEsYesYesYEs
Strava segments live on deviceNoYesYesYEs
Crash detectionYesNoYesYes
RunningGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Designed for runningNoN/AN/ANo
VO2Max EstimationN/AN/A(CYCLING YES THOUGH)N/A
Recovery AdvisorN/AN/A(CYCLING YES THOUGH)N/A
TriathlonGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Designed for triathlonNoN/ASortaNo
WorkoutsGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Create/Follow custom workoutsNoYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureNoNoYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoNoYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureNoNoYesYes
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesYes
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YEsNoYesYes
Day to day watch abilityNoShows time/dateN/ANo
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoN/AN/ANo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoN/AN/ANo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoN/AN/ANo
GeocachingNoN/AN/ANo
Weather Display (live data)yesNoYesyes
NavigateGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YEsYesYesYEs
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesNoYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)YesYesYesYes
Back to startYesYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationYesNo (But can create one-way routes from phone app)NoYes
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeGPSMagneticGPSGPS
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyN/AN/ANoN/A
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)N/ANo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYEsYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYEsYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoYesYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoYesNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesNoYesYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationyesNoYesyes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoYesYesYes
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoYesYes
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityYesNoNOYes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)NoYesWith appsVia Connect IQ
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoYesYesYes
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoYEsNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoYesNoYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsNo-NoNo
SoftwareGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressN/AGarmin ExpressGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectN/AGarmin ConnectGarmin Connect
Phone AppiOS/Android/WindowsiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Amazon LinkN/ALink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Edge ExploreWahoo ELEMNT BOLTGarmin Edge 520 PlusGarmin Edge 1030
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Again, don’t forget you can make your own comparison charts here within the product comparison tool against other units out there.

Wrap-up:

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I’m impressed with the Edge Explore. Though, I’m actually most impressed not with the technology, but with the fact that someone at Garmin finally got the message: The previous Explore/Touring lineups were just grossly overpriced.  This unit however…it’s beautifully priced for the target market.  There’s simply nothing else on the market like it in terms of functionality (primarily complete turn by turn navigation) or display quality (color, touchscreen) anywhere near this price point. The closest would be the Hammerhead Karoo at $399 – which is considerably more than this.  If you go with a smaller display, then you’ve got the new Garmin Edge 520 Plus at $279 – but that’s quite a bit smaller display than this and has slower routing/navigation, so that might not work for some folks (of course, it has vastly more features).

Of course, there will be those like myself who use power meters. This unit won’t appeal to you (or directly to me).  Same goes if you care about Strava Live Segments.  Or the handful of other features that some people may use and others don’t care about. If it wasn’t for power meter support, I could probably use this unit as-is.  I did today, just recording the power data on the side with another unit.  At this point if Garmin added power meter support it’d cut off interest for the massively high price of the Edge 1030, and realistically, that device isn’t viable for many touring cyclists and those people, like my Dad, who don’t have a power meter (the majority of the market).

So, while there’s nothing in this device we haven’t seen before technologically, sometimes that’s not the point.  It’s about hitting the right features at the right price point, and this unit finally seems to nail it.  Personally, I would have called it something different – merely to reduce confusion with all the previous variants.  But whatever works I suppose.  For folks that don’t need Strava Live Segments or power meters, this is easily the best deal on the market today for a color mapping navigational bike computer.

With that – thanks for reading!

You can pre-order the Edge Explore now via Clever Training, which is set to ship in the next couple weeks or so. I can’t see much in the way of that.  If you use the DCR/Clever Training VIP program, you’ll get 10% back in points. Plus, you’ll also get free shipping within the US.  All of which helps support the site (and in turn, makes you awesome).

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236 Comments

  1. Kyle

    Still using micro usb? I know you made an excuse last year for still using Micro usb Ray, but its time for USB C on these products. I can now charge my Laptop and phone using usb c, more of these products need to follow. Just makes traveling easier, bringing less cords. Using one industry standard just helps everyone.

    • I talk about the lack of USB-C in the video actually…

      I do agree with you, but I also agree with those that say that at this point micro-USB is still far more prevalent. Personally, I’d love to see USB-C, but I get both sides.

    • H M

      A colleague of mine just bought a car sat navigation system from Garmin…. It still has a *mini* USB…. Like those from cameras ten years ago.

      The old cables won’t die

    • Marc

      Not a deal breaker for me, but I’m super disappointed that this is not USB-C.

    • Mitch W

      Both sides!!! I see what you did there! (is joke because USB-C plugs in on both sides)

    • ChrisB

      Doesn’t USB-C have hi licensing or implementation costs? Usually the reason.

    • David

      Don’t mind USB mini; however, the placement of the USB connector does seem a little daft.

      If mounted in the stem or top tube (my Edge 1000 is mounted on the top when bikepacking) the connector will not be available so the unit cannot be charged during the ride.

    • Marc

      Great observation! There are angled USB connector cables available, I wonder if there’s enough clearance for one in this case.

  2. Bob Smith

    No power meter support?
    Read it down to there and I’m out.

    • Bob Smith

      By the way,

      for turn by turn navigation I use RideWithGPS on my cellphone, and just keep one earphone in my ear if I’m cycling on roads.

    • Leon

      That’s when I stopped reading too. 249 USD and no power?

    • Bike tourist and commuters tend not to care.

    • Pips

      Bike tourists and commuters generally dont care about size either so they just use their phones and battery packs or the 1000 series. Small size tells me this is for roadies. Garmin seems confused and made a product that looks to be mostly useless. DOA.

    • Speak for yourself. As a tourist, I care greatly about size and weight. My tours frequently exceed 100K feet of elevation gain in 3 weeks. Phones are a crappy solution for navigation. The lack of a barometric altimeter is a bigger concern for me.

  3. Bradley Uffner

    Lack of WiFi Sync is kind of a killer for me, unfortunately.

    • Eric

      Why? I am not saying you are wrong, just wondering why WIFI so important. I recently upgraded my watch to a FR645 and have not bothered to setup the WIFI; the watch syncs to my phone and from my phone to God knows where.

  4. Laird M.

    Thanks for posting. Still processing through all the great info!

    Sorry to be “that guy.” Typo near the very beginning. “Now, you’ve probably hard the Edge Explore…” should probably be heard instead of hard.

  5. Matt Fieldwalker

    Arg! No power meter. I’ve got a 520 and a 935, but wish I had better mapping.
    At first glance I thought ‘damn this is perfect ‘ – but now realize it’s useless without power data. 1030 is crazy $$$ in Canada … so must leave Garmin ecosystem to find better mapping. 😣

  6. ekutter

    Garmin’s site says it does have Live Track but your table says it doesn’t.
    Garmin’s site doesn’t mention Barometric altimeter but you say it has one.
    Does it really not have trainer FEC control support?

    • (Fixed LiveTrack, after resetting my app/GCM connection, it wasn’t showing as a feature initially for some reason)

      I’ll double-check with them on baro. It as the baro holes on the back, and the data on my latest rides looks too smooth to be GPS-based (or at least, Garmin’s GPS based alti).

      On FEC, nope, not there. But to be fair, I’ve actually yet to see/hear of someone using that with a Garmin (or a few someone’s anyway). I think Garmin did good in jumpstarting that (FE-C support), but I think these days most people just tend to use apps instead.

  7. Laird M.

    Thanks again.

    Two things on the features. No wifi (as mentioned also in the comments above), but Wifi is listed in the comparison chart for data connections. I’m assuming that is a mistaken holdover from the template but maybe I am misunderstanding Wifi sync vs. Wifi data transfer?

    The other which is more a surprise to me – no Live Tracking? Seems odd that is not there given it just hands over that to the App to broadcast out, doesn’t it? Any idea why they would not include this feature? Is it something that might be added? I look at it as a safety element. I live track my runs and rides to my wife and sister so they both know where I am, especially when I am on the road traveling somewhere. I feel like I would miss this more than the Wifi. And it does have group tracking. Hmmm.

    Overall though, the unit looks really nice given the price.

    • Definitely no WiFi. I’ve looked through every menu on the unit and every GCM option on the app, zero mention. Also, no WiFi logo on the back of the unit like the Edge 1030. I don’t really thing WiFi is super important to be honest, especially since the stability of Bluetooth Smart uploads is pretty good.

      No Live Tracking was something amiss on my GCM connection, it wasn’t showing. I’ve reset it though and now I’ve got the option. 🙂

  8. ron

    But for the lack of the LiveTrack feature, this would have been the perfect device for me 🙁

    Don’t know why they pulled that out

  9. Sam

    I’ve been looking for a bikepacking gps and this seems to tick every box.

    Lack of training and pm features will not be a deal killer for me as it will complement my 510.

    Was considering the Sigma Rox12 previously but it seems to be experiencing teething issues and not widely available yet, especially in Australia. Any idea of price/availability in AU?

    Also wondering about these:
    – battery under navigation usage
    – how easy to create route and transfer to unit on the fly compare to Wahoo?

  10. Scott E

    Wow. Checks the boxes for what my wife needs, and has the group track so I know where she is at (Augh). At that price point the competition will be scratching their head as what to do in their product line.

    Is The Girl favoring any device for cycling? Know she is ramping up on the running, yet unsure if she leverages anything on the cargo bike at this point. My view of easy of use doesn’t always mean the same for my Girl and it would be nice to have another perspective.

  11. JeffF

    Which Euro map did you use Ray? I need something to replace the standard Garmin 2018 maps on my 1030 as the latest release has broken routing. Instead of using cycling friendly roads it sends you off down unsurfaced paths and roads even when set to avoid. Few threads in the Garmin Forums about it, very annoying.

  12. Vladimir Gorbunov

    Great review, thank you! But I prefer the old and good button-operated GPSMap units in my bicycle tours. The touch units are somewhat light-duty IMHO (e.g. when wearing insulated gloves in -15 C). Shall I expect your review of GPSMap 66 some day?

  13. jason

    I noticed in the comparison you have that there is a barometric altimeter on this model on the site it does not show that. does it have one or is it gps driven? if it is gps driven how accurate is that? also it does not have glonass should I care? seems gps locating is just fine here.

  14. Andreas

    Thanks for the report Ray.

    I have two questions and maybe you can already answer those.

    1. Does the unit send verbal announcements to a connected cell phone (e.g. when you finish a lap)? My Forerunner 735 does this while the Edge 520 lacks this possibility.

    2. Can it display Whatsapp messages or only text (SMS) and incoming calls?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Cheers,
    Andreas

  15. Steffen

    Could power meter display be added via CIQ?

    • RTellis

      As Ray mentioned in the video. There is an IQ power meter app and it will write the power data to the fit file for the ride. But since it’s an IQ stat it won’t count toward the cycling Vo2Max or FTP in your Garmin profile or show up in 3rd party sites like Strava.

  16. Giuseppe Paoletti

    Is it targeted to mountain biking or only for road biking? Is it possibile to follow a GPS track/course without the uniti recalculate the route? Thanks a lot!

  17. Edwin Aerts

    Hello Ray

    Thanks for review.
    One question; what about battery life? I own an Edge 1000 Touring and battery ends at 5 1/2 hours when in navigation status.
    For most people this will be ok but for rides of 200 kms and more it won’t reach the final.
    Ok, you can take power banks with you and the 1030 has a specific charging solution.
    So I’m wondering what your experience is with the Explore.
    Thanks for answering.

    Krgrds
    Edwin

  18. Great review, thank you! But I prefer the old and good button-operated GPSMap units in my bicycle tours. The touch units are somewhat light-duty IMHO (e.g. when wearing insulated gloves in -15 C). Shall I expect your review of GPSMap 66 some day?

  19. TC

    First sentence ‘hard’ vs ‘herd’ 😉

  20. Phil

    Ray,
    can you please clear this for me?
    you said “No Varia display” but in sensor list ant+ radar is compatible.
    how does this works?

    thanks

  21. ReHMn

    Any ideas for punishment the developer who cancelled Bike profiles and replaced them by Activity Profiles?

    Feel the pain with me. Going for a ride on my road bike:

    Scosche HRM – On
    Garmin Speed sensor A – On
    Garmin Cadence sensor A – On

    Few days later at a triathlon competition the following steps must be done:

    Scosche HRM – Off
    Garmin Speed sensor A – Off
    Garmin Cadence sensor A Off
    Garmin HRM-Tri – On
    Di2 transmitter – On
    Garmin Speed sensor B – On
    Garmin Cadence sensor B – On

    …and repeat the whole procedure over and over again when you change the bike…
    Very smart solution indeed!

    • Duncan Tindall

      I’m confused, why do you need to turn them all off? Unless you are lending your other bike and HRM to someone who is using them next to you, then it will just use the sensors that are transmitting in range. I’ve got a stack of sensors loaded on my 935 and the only time I need to turn sensors off is if I want to take the power from the Neo in preference to the quarq when zwifting.

      I may be missing something, and I was worried at first, but then in the end it just works. In fact it’s better, as the number of times I get half way down the road and notice that the edge 510 isn’t picking up the cadence as I’ve left it on the MTB bike profile and I need to change activity as I’m hairing down my hill at 50+kph is way way too many to not be embarrassed about….

    • Tim Grose

      Yeah agreed – unless you are actually using two of the same type (and then you would need two devices to do so) the other ones of that type just won’t connect.

    • ReHMn

      I disagree. The device (Forerunner or Edge) will search for all devices paired previously. Even if HRM or speed/cadence sensor is not connected, it will search for connection, unless it is turned off…
      At FR910XT, where are actually bike profiles, only those sensors are connected which have been previously defined for the bike. Switching bike profiles, will switch the related peripherals connection too.

    • Paul S.

      But almost always there’s only one sensor of a type awake at a time, the one you’ve just woken up because you’re about to use it. And if it finds two, it’ll ask which one you want to use. Like Duncan the number of times I have trouble with the sensor pool model is dwarfed by the number of times I forgot to switch profiles. Wake the sensors, they pair, off I go.

    • Tim Grose

      Might share some concern if this was the first device to have a sensor pool but things have been this way for some years now and I can’t recall any notable issues. Yeah the device might look for sensors but so what? There is next to no battery life impact in my experience.

  22. Jurriaan

    looks interesting! Finally a good price.
    Also Lezyne throws in a full navigation device with colour screen. Do you think it could be a worthy competitor?

    link to bikehub.co.za

    • I have a Lezyne Super GPS. IMO the only feature lacking is maps. It’s not a deal breaker for me but does make navigating easier then the breadcrumb trail. With the Lezyne I also expect you get Strava Live segments, Power meter support all for significantly less money.

  23. JamieA

    Is it possible to attach the micro usb cable when mounted on the out-front mount? I’d want to charge it on the go when touring or Audaxing.

  24. Dennis Van Eeuwijk

    Hallo dc
    Can you tell me what the best gps device is for mountainbike and if possible also for hiking will it be a bike gps or a handheld gps.
    Will a bike gps not work for hiking.
    Thanks

    • Paul S.

      The problem with using an Edge for cycling is that in general they use a minimum speed below which they assume you’re not moving. So for hiking you have to crank that down as low as possible (it can’t be set to zero on the Edges I’ve owned) and remember to turn off auto pause (generally you want that on when cycling because usually you want total moving time rather than total elapsed time, etc.). But an Edge can certainly track hiking (I did both hiking and cross country skiing with an Edge 705) if you keep those limitations in mind and don’t mind hand or pack carrying it.

    • Paul S.

      The problem with using an Edge for hiking… (not cycling)

    • Niklas

      For the combination of hiking and mtb, you can look at Garmins handheld devices like Garmin 64-series, Garmin Oregon 700/750 series, Garmin Etrex 30x and Garmin Etrex 35 touch. Garmin have a good bike mount for their handhelds.

      Of course, the handhelds have no work out functionality, but they will work great for weekend warriors. You may also have to look for a detailed map, since the base map i a big joke.

  25. the5krunner

    dcr: “There’s simply nothing else on the market like it in terms of functionality”

    I always liked the Mio/Magellan 505HC which is super cheap ($170 on Amazon) and supports power meters. The newer 605 is priced higher tho. The 505hc easily outperformed the speed of the Edge 820 in routing scenarios where long courses were involved. (eg map load of 1 minute vs 5 minutes…massive differences)

    as @Sam say, above, I would be interested to know battery life whilst navigating and whilst making mistakes when navigating. I know the ‘mistakes’ seemed to much more quickly deplete the battery on the Mio/Magellan than I expected.

    • Yeah, I guess the bigger challenge is everything I’ve heard from Mio/Magellan is them backing out of the cycling industry. I suppose we’ll see if they’re at Eurobike this year shortly.

    • the5krunner

      there is the ‘new’ MIO 605HC model which is from Q2.2017 (ish)

      but that is MIO branded and not, IIRC, Magellan branded. So maybe they are just focussing on europe? dunno.

  26. Tim Grose

    Wonder what percentage of cyclists have a power meter these days. Reading comments here than you might think everybody. I suspect the reality is somewhat different. I have five bikes and only one has a power meter – my TT one. These days with Physio TrueUp and stuff having one screen to see where you are going (like this) and one small thing for say your power data might be good. Then again when I am really concentrating on watts I tend to know where I am going.

    • the5krunner

      Must be a super low percentage. 0.01%? there’s a lot of bikes out there.

      I suspect the readership of this (and similar) blogs is skewed towards those that have such devices.

      That aside, I think PM support is often a reasonable indicator of the seriousness of the device. ie if you get PM support you may well get other interesting stuff too.

    • Agree, it’s a tiny number of overall cyclists worldwide. The number might barely hit single-digits if you include people who ride more in a fitness/sport sense. Barely.

    • I’m not so sure I agree that power support is an indicator of seriousness. Maybe for the company as a whole cause a company that doesn’t do anything with power meters isn’t serious. But its an easy way to diversify products and doesn’t really cut out much

    • Brandon

      A lot of triathletes I know have them. And moving to CO here, they seem a lot more common than when I was in IL, probably because speed becomes a near-impossible judge of effort level with the mountainous terrain.

      That said, it’s probably not too different than the percentage of runners who race in trainers vs the percentage who wear specific racing flats. Most of the population is only going to run (or bike) recreationally. I think with prices dropping more and more people are buying Power Meters — I know I got my 4iiii for just over $300. I assume if prices keep dropping and we see one for $200 or so that you’ll get more and more people buying one.

    • But this isn’t targeting racers. How many non racers have power meters?

    • Paul S.

      Well, me, but I can’t help myself because I’m a physicist. I have a VeloComp PowerPod (and pre-ordered the forthcoming AeroPod). I don’t compete.

    • Agreed. I have a HR monitor watch, but even that sometimes feels like information I don’t care about and don’t know what to do with.

    • Paul, and the chances of you not going for the higher end bike computer is? 😛

      I don’t race, too slow. Still have an edge 1030 and a pioneer power meter cause I’m a nerd

    • Crispin E.

      I’m not much of a road bike rider, but I MTB a fair bit and the idea of a cheaper unit with big screen and mapping/navigation is really appealing. So whilst a serious road or triathlon rider will probably jog on by this unit, there’s a whole world of more general Outdoor activity folks like me (hills/mountains outdoors I mean) that will lap it up.

      [If later on I do ‘accidentally’ lose control of my credit card in a bike shop and get a road bike with PM, I’ll just select a Fenix 3/5/5+ for the power meter and advanced First Beat stuff initially]

    • Paul S.

      Eli, that all depends on the capabilities of the computer. This almost does it. Besides the basic “record the ride” stuff, what I want is navigation capabilities (even though I only really use them about 10 times a year), so full on board turn by turn, maps with context (rules out Wahoo), points of interest, and I also want a barometric altimeter. Right now the Edge 1030 is the “what I get if my 1000 breaks”, but something like this would almost work. (I’m not wedded to Garmin, either, but my impression is that the Karoo and the SIGMA are disappointments and as I said, Wahoo is out because of the maps.)

    • Dan G

      Ray, I don’t understand your attitude to power meters, running or cycling. Do you not ride with a club? I’d say about half of club riders have PMs. I don’t know who else would be buying head units. I hang out with tourists and audaxers, and club cyclists vastly out number them in the UK.

    • Nope, I don’t. And the reality is, a lot of cyclists don’t either. In fact, I’d wager the overwhelming vast majority of fitness-focused cyclists don’t ride in clubs. They just go out and ride, occasionally with friends, but not in organized clubs.

      Either way, people in clubs with power meters simply aren’t the target audience for this device (at least in Garmin’s eyes). It’s all the people criss-crossing around Europe on touring routes that are. It’s people like my Dad who likes to ride a century ride (without a power meter), but with maps and a long-lasting battery GPS device. That’s what the Touring/Explore modes have been targetted at for years (just being overpriced).

      (Side note: Power meter adoption is still incredibly low. If you focus on mostly fast people in clubs, sure, but not beyond that. As proof, check out the Kona bike count numbers. It’s barely over half with power meter adoption these days (59% in 2017), and that’s the absolute fastest triathletes out there, and triathletes buy everything).

      The challenge with the general response here is threefold:

      A) Most active readers (those leaving comments here) are regular readers, and like me, probably have a power meter. But those actually make up a fraction of the overall visitors to the site. I often like to remind folks that my most popular posts in terms of volume are usually Fitbit activity tracker posts. They have low-comments because it’s people that are likely initimdated to leave comments here, and just passing by. I think the same happens here for those target market.

      B) That while we as consumers would love this $249 GPS with power meter support, that simply undercuts Garmin’s $549 Edge 1030. So from a business standpoint that’s a non-starter for them. All of us would say ‘Well Garmin, then make that $549 Edge 1030 something like $399 and you’d have a lot more buyers’. They’d of course respond with ‘We already have tons of buyers at $549, why lower?’. We’d say: Because…we want it?

      C) But why do we as consumers want a $249 color mapping true navigational GPS with power meter support? Because everyone in this comments section knows what Garmin also knows: No such device exists anywhere near the $249 price point. The closest we’d have is the Karoo at $399 – some $150 more. Which is ultimately our conundrum. It’s sorta like arguing to RED Cinema that their $15,000 camera could be $5,000…’just cause’. Until competition comes along and forces Garmin’s hand on this, there’s zero reason they’ll budge. Just like it took years until someone came along (Wahoo) and press them with the BOLT to get them lower.

    • Bingo. I’ll never have a power meter on the bike, and I’d love to have had a the explore on my recent tour in Europe where my Wahoo repeatedly crapped out and gave me incorrect navigation directions and irritated me no end. Combine that with a Varia Radar and it’s the perfect device for me.

    • DDB

      Gutted that it won’t support the Varia Vision. I’ve got my wife onto the Vision & Varia Radar, and this would have been perfect to replace the 520 that is slow as heck. But now will have to be a 130 or 820, which is a bit of a rock and a hard place difference from the 520… grrr.

  27. Jerome

    For long distance touring, i recommend having a look at the garmin etrex line. Some are now touchscreen, mine isn’t but has been very reliable for the last years. Also battery life is amazing, I get 4 days out of 2 aa batteries. It has turn by turn navigation, is waterproof, compatible with cadence temp and hr sensors and has a microsd slot. Very happy with it.

    • Geraint Morris

      Ah the eTrex. Great device, my first Garmin was an eTrex Legend, way back when. They are still a good line of cheap devices now.

    • JamieA

      But can you use rechargeable AAs and charge them from a dynohub en route?

    • Jerome

      Yes, that’s exactly what I use to do. But I have now switched to charging the aa with a solar panel. Much more efficient, and can also be used to charge your smartphone.

    • Thats what the trans america racers that I ran into do. A garmin 510 to record cycling data and a hiking unit for mapping

  28. Andrew S

    Are you going to review the new Lezyne Mega XL and C? Seems they really have it all at $100 or $50 less than this. Including power meter support, offline maps, etc.

    • Yeah, I looked at it at Sea Otter pre-announce, but will dig into it again here in the next few days at Eurobike. They were trying to get me a unit earlier, but timelines have been tight for them.

    • Mitch W

      Plus one on this. I have been SO happy with my Lezyne Super Enhanced GPS. It recently helped me navigate around Portland (never been before)…Now with actual maps instead of just turn by turn it seems to have it all (power meter support, Strava Live segments, best battery, interval training, live track, and on and on) and cheaper.

      A lot of things have been bandied about as a “Garmin Killer”…. This probably isn’t it either (Garmin = Twinkies after nuclear fallout), but closest we’ve seen from a company that is already very big and respected in the cycling world.

    • The maps on the new Lezyne are more akin to what Wahoo has with the BOLT, which is just a basemap sans-road. So quite a bit different than what we’re talking with the Explore.

    • Mitch W

      That’s interesting that there are no names on the maps.. I would’ve expected it to be there, given that the street names show up for turn by turn on Super GPS. I guess that’s fed from the phone though.

      Unlike Wahoo it does re-route though. In the Super it needed a phone connection, but it looks like the newer models will be able to do it offline too.

      Not that I plan on upgrading. Like I said, I’ve been really happy with my Super. Turn by turn and breadcrumb trail is fine for my navigational needs. If I miss a turn it adjusts. If I am going somewhere truly off-network I have the options of preloading my route and sticking to it or can always download maps to my phone and check it periodically or use it to get back on track or (gasp!!!) rely on a paper map!

  29. nalc

    Why does Garmin treat power meter support as a premium feature?

    I can absolutely understand omitting something like BTLE on a cheaper model where you’re saving money by eliminating it. But I really don’t understand why you’d have a protocol, but then not allow certain devices. If you’ve got ANT+ capability onboard already, why won’t an ANT+ powermeter work?

    It just seems so weird to me – the previous Edge 20/25 models didn’t have it. I’ve got a Vivoactive HR and it’s a great watch and it supports ANT+, but only HR straps / cadence / speed sensors – no PMs. It seems like they intentionally try to neuter them to get you to spend more money. We’re talking about devices that already have the physical hardware to communicate with power meters, and they have reconfigurable graphical data screens so it’s not like “well the screen is too small” or “we don’t have an available spot on the display” like you would find on some of those really basic devices that just use clock-style 7-segment numerical displays.

    It doesn’t seem like anyone else is doing this – even really basic models like the CatEye Stealth have power meter support. Everyone else, as soon as you fork out enough for ANT+, you get all sorts of sensors, but Garmin tries to lock you out of it. I’m fine with them saying that it doesn’t have some of the more advanced structured workouts or power analysis stuff onboard, but it can’t even simply record a ANT+ power data stream? But it can record HR, speed, and cadence? C’mon, man.

    • JamieA

      It’s simply to protect the sales of the higher end units. It looks like Garmin have actually looked at who buys their products and what value they put on the features.

      Those serious about training and spending hundreds on power meter are more likely to buy a 520plus/820/1030.

      There’s a much bigger market of those less inclined to train to power and I guess the margin on this unit is lower that the higher end units with Garmin expecting to sell many more of these than the top units.

      Spec/pricepoint wise Garmin have nailed it for the vast majority of cyclists considering a GPSr unit whitout taking away too many sales from the top units. Looks like there may be sensible thinking at Garmin HQ for once!

      Let’s just hope the units themselves aren’t released as pre-beta units like so many before…

  30. In the USA, I’d like to buy the unit with European maps and popularity routing. Can I do easily do that? Or would I have to find a European vendor? Who needs to tour in the USA? The roads between towns in the USA are so sparse that popularity routing is a no-op.

  31. Matthew

    Ray,

    Any idea why the touch screen works so well on this, but is pretty poor on the Edge 820?

    • JamieA

      Perhaps the engineers actually had time to develop it rather than business managers releasing a product that wasn’t ready.

      Let’s hope it’s a turning point with Garmin treating customers how they should be and not as beta testers.

  32. Marc

    I noticed the cycliq front mount, do you use a cycliq? Light how did the light control work? Does Cycliq’s app work on the Edge Explore?

  33. John

    $250 price point vs $600 for the Edge 1030 (at release at least) proves that Garmin’s typical markup is about 100% above what the devices are actually worth.

  34. Michael St. Louis

    Hi Ray.

    Looking at the comparison chart it seemed like the Wahoo Element Bolt has more features like power meter support for the same price. So why not get it instead?

    Then I follow the link to the review page and see that it has a black and white display as opposed to the color display of the Edge Explore.

    You may want to add display type (b/w, color) to the comparison tables as it could be a differentiator for some people.

    • Yeah, the database may need to be extended a bit to cover the nuances here with navigation.

      In short, Wahoo can’t re-route if you get off-course. Basically they don’t have a routable map set. Instead, they have street map without street names that they overlay your route atop. But Wahoo doesn’t have knowledge of streets on that. It’s like wallpaper, and isn’t routable. So when you get off-course it just points you via a little arrow back in the direction of where you should go.

      Versus the Explore can and will re-route you as soon as you go off-course. Or if you do as I did, you can use it to re-route all day long and loosely follow a route.

    • The Wahoo is unacceptably bad at navigation: link to piaw.blogspot.com. I would not recommend the Wahoo if you really need navigation (as opposed to just following a pre-built route sheet).

  35. Cam

    Just saw this review and this would be perfect but after contacting Garmin it won’t be released here in Australia. Not fair!

  36. Till

    I would be interested in seeing a phone added to the comparison table. My now more-than-two-years old android phone can display and record data from my Garmin (ant+) power meter, my bluetooth HRM, all completely customisable, and of course, also offers live navigation (and the ability to change routes on the fly). Of course, it also natively provides weather, notifications, etc., it has a magnetic compass, barometric altimeter, and apart from not clearly not being designed for any sport, I believe it ticks all the boxes in the above table, including electronic gear shifting, and it is (today) cheaper than some dedicated bike computers, which offer less features.

    I really appreciate the benefits of a running or multisports watch, not just for the form factor; they clearly can provide metrics that phones can’t. I also see a use for cheap (sub $50) head units in scenarios where crashes are likely. But what are the benefits of medium to high-end bike computers over phones on road bikes?

    • Paul S.

      Just off the top of my head: built in mount (the quarter turn mount was one of the best things Garmin invented). A screen designed to be seen outdoors. Always on screen. Much better battery life.

      Yes, a lot of those can be remedied by a case. Might as well just buy a bike computer. Then your phone isn’t exposed on your handlebars.

    • Alex Masidlover

      Which app are you using that allows you to display and customise all those metrics? I haven’t yet found one that I really get on with.

    • Andrew

      Previous answers to this regularly covered topic include battery life, durability + waterproof, non touch screen plus mobile devices are not allowed in triathlon races.

    • Once in a while I go on the rampage for Android apps that will turn my phone into a bike computer, not that I don’t have enough of those but simply because it would be cool to have. I still haven’t found anything which works more than adequately and definitely not something which can compete against even the cheaper computers. The phone may have all the hardware needed to do this but noone have been able to replicate the software from the dedicated computers. Not that they didn’t have a truck load of devices to get inspiration from.

      It’s been a couple of months since my last explorations; perhaps it is time I did it again :-).

  37. Nathan

    Awesome write up. The idea of inputting a destination and letting the device reroute you and/or keep you pointed in the right direction is exactly what I’m looking for.

    My one question is whether the popularity data applies to the rerouting, or does it just try to get you back on course as quickly as possible? For example, if the first left back towards your course is a busy 4 lane road with lots of cars, but the third street up is a quiet street with a designated bike lane, which way will it take you?

  38. It seems like the real competition is a waterproof smartphone + a USB power source to keep the GPS and screen running during the ride.

  39. Steveadore

    In your comp table the Altimeter box is blank. Does this mean it has no inbuilt (barometric) altimeter?

    Also, since I’m planning to use this on my mountain bike as well, what (if any) is the minimum threshold for speed below which it switches off/pauses? The Edge 820 is not suitable for mtb-ing, for instance, as its minimum speed limit is too high for steep technical climbing (at low speeds).

    Lastly, I was about to buy an Edge Explore 820 yesterday (it was a great bargain, on sale), but I was hesitating because of the negative reviews re:touchscreen issues. Would this be a better option? For comparison, the Edge Explore 820 price I was offered is roughly 15-20 per cent below the RRP of this new Explore model

    • Paul S.

      The minimum speed thing is easy to solve, since it’s settable. On older models it’s simply the minimum of the lowest speed zone. On newer models I think you can set it directly. You can’t set it to zero, but you can set it to 1. km/h or mi/hr, that’s small enough.

    • Steveadore

      Thanks. But do you need to disable “Auto Pause” for this? I thought that if you have “Auto Pause” enabled, the minimum speed has to be sth. like 5-6 km/h

    • Paul S.

      No. I ride with an Edge 1000 with auto pause on and the minimum speed set to 1 mph. I mountain bike and have no troubles with it. It pauses when I’m actually stopped, not when I’m grinding up climbs at < 4 mph.

    • Steveadore

      That’s great. I hope the Edge Explore does the same. Now I only need official confirmation that it does actually have barometric altimeter

    • No baro altimeter, I was able to confirm that today during a meeting with them. They had to cut costs somewhere to make it work financially at the $249 price point.

      On the flip side, they did confirm that the latest firmware does have Edge Remote support. Somehow may unit wasn’t getting updates and is on firmware from like last decade. They were actually surprised it worked as well as it did. 🙂

    • Steveadore

      Thanks for double checking. This is a bit of a deal breaker for me 🙁 The RRP is very good indeed, but I’m now tempted to buy the Edge Explore 1000 (which has barometric alitemeter) for 15-20 per cent more. Are these two pretty much comparable in terms of quality otherwise?

    • Steveadore

      Lack of barometric altimeter also confirmed by Garmin customer service (I had asked them before I asked Ray here, but the answer just came now). Too bad

  40. Lars

    Is the Garmin Edge Explore 1000 a better unit (without taking price difference into consideration)?

    • Chris Watson

      No, the Garmin Edge Explore 1000 is not a better unit.

    • Steveadore

      What makes the EE1000 “worse” then (or do you simply mean that it’s not “better” but the “same level/quality”)? It does have barometric altimeter, though, which Ray has just confirmed the new model lacks.

  41. Kris

    On the garmin site the edge explore is in the list of compatible devices for the edge remote control. In your review it says it is not supported. I could also not see it while you were scrolling the list of sensors on the device in your youtube review.

    Should it be supported?

    • Confirmed today that while it wasn’t enabled on my unit’s firmware, that it is indeed on the most current firmware. I should be getting said firmware shortly.

  42. Norbert

    You wrote:” no advanced training”. Does it have non advanced training? Simple interval training would be enough for me. (like the preprogrammed training on the edge 500).

    I tried to download the manual from the garmin site to see, but I cannot find it yet

  43. Quentin

    I would be interested in a direct comparison between the Edge 130 and the Edge Explore. I was considering upgrading my Edge 25 to an Edge 130, but now I’m wondering if I should consider the Explore instead. It looks like they offer very different feature sets, and I’d like a better list of which ones each offers that the other doesn’t, as well as a size comparison.

  44. John Martin

    With the 800 I found that the SD format out-of-the-box is/was not recognized by the 800. Had to reformat to FAT 32 and then no issues – but this was after trying every other option known to man when maps were not found…..So if you are having issues start from scratch and reformat the SD.

  45. Trevin

    This is an odd little niche question but since you’re in Amsterdam:

    Does the Explore seem to understand/integrate at all with the Dutch Knooppunten route system? The longer I live here the more I have grown to love/hate it. Love it because it makes having a nice big paper map (I’m more of a tourer than anything) valuable, hate it because the signage sometimes leaves something to be desired.

    (Coincidentally it appears we both live or spend a lot of time starting/stopping rides in Hoofddorppleinbuurt… anyway, Hoi buurman!)

    • Perhaps it’s in there, but I haven’t found a way (with little research) to make it appear. :-/

      As for Hoofddorppleinburt, likely because we both live in that area. 🙂

  46. Paul Shipley

    Is this head unit compatible with ‘extended display’? (sorry if the answer is buried somewhere in the review / comments – I did look but couldn’t find any mention!)

  47. Hi
    I could follow wikiloc routes in the Explore
    Thank you

  48. Paula

    In my opinion prizing is all over the place with these units atm (and in a really stupid way).

    This is Germany right now (prices in €):

    Edge 130 = 200
    Edge 520 = 200
    Edge 520+= 300
    Edge 820 = 270
    Edge 820E= 230
    Edge Explore =250
    Edge 1000E=310
    Edge 1030 =490

    So judging by Rays comparision charts unless you really need BT Smart but do prefer a PM Option you get the most out of your money in terms of features and screen real estate by far with an Edge 820, and if you don’t want that PM option but even more screen real estate its a question of whether you need barometric altimeter (1000E) or not (EE).

    With current prizing E130 -which per se I think is sitting in an awesome niche and could be cool option for some- hasn’t got any appeal at all and E520 is struggling too. You would have to have very specific needs to prefer a 300€ E520+ to a 270€ E820, too.

    I’m not sure it should be like this.

  49. David Knight

    Does the Edge Explore do physio true up? Even one way to 645 would be useful.

  50. TJ

    I stopped being an early adopter years ago with good reason, but I broke the rule with this one and paid the price. Out of the box, once charged, I wasted an hour trying to connect it. Loaded the iOS app – EE isn’t listed and the app wouldn’t find it. The help says ‘if not listed, use Express’. Connected to my Mac using their cable and, nothing, it wouldn’t mount. Been a long time user of Apple and Garmin, tried all the tricks, nothing. The app crashed twice, leaving me with a black screen. Reset the EE and it froze on the splash screen. Put it back in the box and returned it. Sticking with my Bolt.

  51. TJ

    To be fair to Garmin, they picked up on my comment on their forum and asked me to ‘reach out to them’ (awful phrase) and they would help get the device set up, but really, if it won’t even work out of the box, I’m out.

    • It sounds like some units were shipped a few days before they were supposed to. Thus, the app doesn’t show the new device yet for pairing. Really as simple as that.

      Where’s the unit come from?

    • TJ

      In the UK. Regardless of the app, it didn’t mount let alone show up in Express. I did like the responsiveness of the screen however, almost as good as a smartphone.

    • Yeah, if the unit isn’t shown as being ‘in production’ yet, then it won’t show up in Garmin Express or Garmin Connect Mobile.

      Where in the UK though?

    • Paul

      Mine arrived today from Wiggle, do we know when it will show in the app?

    • Paul

      I’m in Manchester, UK

    • Ok, just confirmed with Garmin. The Edge Explore units apparently got into peoples hands slightly faster than they expected. The update to allow pairing to Garmin Connect Mobile (smartphone app), and Garmin Express should go live a bit later this evening.

    • Paul

      Hey Ray, I’m all connected now Garmin added the device to the app today, took my first ride this evening, it’s impressive!

      Just a couple of questions – what are the pros & cons of not having the barometric altimeter? I corrected tonight’s ride elevation with Strava & it’s was 200ft different (over 1,600ft), also I don’t get the elevation ‘grade’ as an option on the data screen? This was useful on my old 520.

      Thanks

    • In general GPS altimeter readings are usually good enough for most people, but there are cases where baro is just simply a lot better – especially with things like bridges and sometimes in mountain passes where GPS is tougher to match-up to the terrain.

      Also, sometimes on really flat terrain (like where I am), you’ll see more blips than a baro altimeter.

      As you noticed, it’s the post-upload correction it fixes it online, but not on the unit itself.

      Personally, about the only time I really care about altitude is in the mountains doing long climbs where I just wanna know how much further till the top.

  52. Norbert

    I compared the manual of the explore and the 1030. They both lack the data field “ gradient”. I liked that function on my edge 500. The explore has no barometrische altimeter. But the manual gives instructies on how to set the altimeter. Perhaps this is a function to adjust the GPS altitude?
    Can anyone comment what came in place for gradient om the 1030?

  53. Robyn

    Since I’m one of those casual cyclists who doesn’t care about power and loves to just meander and explore, this (finally) seems like the perfect bike computer for me! But…

    Up to this point, I have preferred using RWGPS on my iPhone for navigation because (1) I can SEE THE SCREEN and (2) it’s easy to find new places to explore. Of course; the longer the ride, the more battery life becomes an issue (even with a battery case).

    With that in mind:
    1. What are the actual screen dimensions? What is the contrast like? I know its not going to be an iPhone, but will I be able to SEE the thing?

    2. Will this unit eliminate the need for RWGPS? Or will I still have to use it to get routes onto the device? If I still have to pay $80/yr (according to the new price increase) for RWGPS, I might as well keep using my phone.

    3. Can I broadcast HR from my Vivoactive HR to the unit?

    Thanks for the great reviews as usual!

  54. gmail login

    Bike tourists and commuters generally dont care about size either so they just use their phones and battery packs or the 1000 series. Small size tells me this is for roadies. Garmin seems confused and made a product that looks to be mostly useless. DOA.

  55. Arnold

    Hello Ray.

    Thank you for this early review and all other reviews on your excellent site. Been reading here for years, never posted a comment until now. I’m also a Dutch resident.

    Almost 5 years ago I bought my first Garmin device, the Edge 810. Bought this after reading your positive review. In general it’s a very good device, but with a few nasty errors. The worst being that re-calculating routes doesn’t work correct. It recalculates as if your riding a course, bringing you back to the point where you deviated, instead of recalculating the route to endpoint (destination). That’s a big dealbreaker, but unfortunately I discovered this not immediately. Been trying to get Garmin to fix this, but numerous firmwares later, it’s still not fixed and probably never will be. Now my Edge 810 has a broken silicon power button, so now it seems the perfect time to replace.
    Because I also use a Vivosport (also excellent review from you), and because I have cadens sensors on both my bikes (trekking and race), I want to stick with Garmin. (also looked at Teasi One).

    The new Edge Explore seems like the best choice for me. The lack of certain datafields and specific sports related items, is of no concern to me. It offers the things I general use with my 810.

    But, a few questions.
    Does the Explore support use of multiple cadens sensors (multiple bikes)? Do these (also 5 year old) Garmin sensors work with the Explore?

    I noticed in your review that you deliberately deviated from a calculated route. How did the Explore re-caclulate the route? This is of special interest for me.

    Thank you and compliments on your fantastic site.

    Best regards, Arnold.

    • Thanks!

      1) Multiple sensors: Yup, no problem with storage of multiple sensors, including the same type. And yup, it supports the older combo sensors (i.e. GSC-10 ones from Garmin). All good!

      2) Deviations: It simply comes up with a new route each time you deviate. In most cases it’s going to get you back on your planned route relatively quickly, but I suppose if I had crossed the river and continued that way, it’d probably have stayed on that side of the river till required/end point. In my case the re-routing was fast enough that it actually worked well (something I can’t say of the Edge 520 Plus).

      Enjoy!

    • Nathan

      Ray, you’ve touched on this several times. What makes the Edge Explore so different in terms of rerouting and navigation from the 520 Plus? Do the 820 and 1030 share the same issues as the 520 Plus?

      It almost sounds like if you value both navigation and training stats, mixing an Edge Explore with a newer watch might be the best option. Or am I missing something?

    • I suspect the Edge Explore has the processing power of the Edge 1030, whereas the Edge 520 Plus has the processing power of the Edge 520.

      Even today again using the Edge 520 Plus to navigate, I remembered once again how suck-balls the re-calculations is (again, at least here in the Netherlands).

    • Nathan

      I guess that was a dumb question. I assumed maps were maps and routing was routing. I never considered that a bigger unit would have more horsepower. Kind of obvious now that you mention it…

      You’ve talked me out of the 520 Plus. Do you have any reservations about the 1030 and rerouting? There wasn’t much talk about that aspect of its performance in your review or the comments. I’d expect the flagship to perform, but I’d appreciate first hand experience.

    • Yeah for me I didn’t mention issues on Edge 1030 routing simply because I don’t tend to have any. 🙂 It just works for me as fast as I’d expect.

      Unfortunately I have to call up Garmin service as I managed to break the USB port somehow last week, so hence why I was back to using the Edge 520 Plus instead for routing (and I’m not entirely sure where I placed my Edge 820 at the moment either).

    • Nathan

      Thanks, Ray. It’s so cool that you spend so much time in the comment section.

      Bummer on the busted USB. Hopefully Garmin gave you a VIP number at least…

  56. admckillip

    Anyone know how much it weighs? I can’t find that online. I’m not totally a weight weenie but I want to make sure it’s not crazy… And yet I’m somehow the guy that doesn’t need a power meter. I assume its close to the 1030?

  57. Me, myself and I

    Hi,

    Can you help me with these two questions before I decide to buy this very interesting device?

    1. What kind of mount(s) do we get in the box? This would be my very first mountain bike GPS and I have nothing to mount it on for now, so it would be handy to know if I need to buy anything else right now.

    2. What about moutain bike navigation? Is it worth it? Can we easily find small trails or is it mostly designed for roads?

    Thanks for your help and this really useful (p)review 🙂

    • Terry Jones

      In answer to 1) It comes with two stem/handlebar mounts and a selection of rubber bands.

    • Me, myself and I

      Referring to this picture : link to cdn.road.cc
      I guess the 2 mounts are similar to the left one and I will need to buy the one in the center if that’s what I want, right?

    • Terry Jones

      Correct. No out-front mount is supplied. The two included are identical to the one on your stem (see photo attached)

    • Me, myself and I

      Perfect, thanks for your quick answer.

      Question 2 is the only one remaining now:
      2. What about moutain bike navigation? Is it worth it? Can we easily find small trails or is it mostly designed for roads?

    • Paul S.

      That all depends on the maps. Probably the maps it comes with won’t have trails, but you’re not required to use them. You’ve got lots of room to add maps. The best thing to do would be to go to openstreetmap.org, look at the area(s) you’re interested in, and see if the trails you want are on the maps. Here in central Pennsylvania OSM maps have all of the trails, and they’re routable (so that the device can “see” the trails and route along them), but that may not be true of all areas (having a big university nearby with lots of people making tracks helps). If the trails you want aren’t on the maps, there’s a process to add them, but it may not be instant (maps are curated in my area). There are also other places that take OSM maps and specialize them; I use maps from openmtbmap.org on my Edge 1000 and Epix.

    • Me, myself and I

      This is good news. I’ve heard about openmtbmap.org and will probably follow this tutorial to get maps in my area: link to dcrainmaker.com
      I think most of the trails will be available, I live in Greater Paris so many people out there to add them 🙂

      Anyway, if this is just a question of maps, there should be no problem for mountain bike navigation. No reason the Edge Explore navigation system to be less accurate than that of Edge 520 or Edge 820, right?

    • Paul S.

      Just based on reading this review and Ray’s reviews of the others and the Garmin forums (which I haven’t read in months now), this should do a better job than the 820 and certainly the 520 (unless you’re talking about the +). I have experience with an Edge 705, and Edge 800, and an Edge 1000, and they all work(ed) pretty well but have quirks it pays to be aware of. But there’s really only one way to find out if it works the way you want it to, and that’s to try it.

  58. Paul Cox

    I have this device now and it seems it does not have a data point for percent grade!

    • Terry Jones

      I see the same. I guess the accuracy/lag of GPS based gradient is not so good so it’s been dropped. I think my old 305 (without barometer) did give gradient but presume that code would have been dropped long ago. Maybe it will return in an update down the line. If I really need it I’ll fire up my Fenix during the ride.

  59. Me, myself and I

    Does anyone know if this device is going to be released as a bundle (like the Edge 820: link to wiggle.com) in the coming weeks?

    • Me, myself and I

      Any hint on availability for the device itself and a potential bundle?

    • I haven’t heard of a bundle, but the base device is already shipping.

    • Me, myself and I

      Unfortunately I haven’t found a single website that ships to France already, it’s either unavailable or shipping within 2 months.

      Thanks for the feedback on a potential bundle, I’ll go for the base device when it becomes available.

  60. sander

    This device is what I need. My biggest concern is battery life…

  61. Norbert

    Just made my first (short) ride with it. After 90 minutes capacity was 80%. I had navigation on and did a lot of testing. Perhaps without navigation battery lasts Longer?
    There is a battery save mode. The screen will only turn on when a waypoint is coming up or when you touch the screen.

  62. Lea

    looking to replace my still (problem free)working Edge 510. Seeing it does not have the virtual partner/racer feature this is not the device for me.

  63. Miha

    Hi,

    you describe the process for uploading the OSM via SD card, but I don’t find any specification that Edge Explore has SD card slot?

  64. Jean-Marc

    Hey thx for the review,
    Im plannning to buy a new gps most likely a garmin, having now a mio 405.
    I have a garmin vivoactive 3 and i wonder if that my watch is pairable with the edge? I would like to see my HR from my watch to the datafields of the GPS. Because i don’t like to wear a HR strap!

    What about the 12hr batterylife, does it affect heavily with all the notifications on and when it’s paired with a cellphone and a watch?

    Thx

  65. Miha

    Is it possible to display HR data from Fenix 5 watch? Is this not supported due to lack of Extended display?

    • Yes, you can re-broadcast your HR on the Fenix 5, and then pair it on the Edge Explore as a HR sensor.

    • Miha

      OK, thnx, but what is then in detail the function of the Extended display not supported by this Explore version?

    • Extended display is designed primarily for triathletes. It allows you to have a watch and start a recording there (typically during the swim), after which when you get to your bike the display fields from the Edge unit would mirror that of the watch – so you’d see total race time, not just the time on your bike.

    • Okrunner

      Did anyone notice Froome wearing a Fenix 5 on the last stage of the Tour in addition to his Garmin computer? Wander if he was using extended display or what the purpose of the additional computer was?

    • Andrew

      Can you please add Rebroadcast HR (LTE or Ant+) to the comparison chart as this feature is not consistent across wearables of a similar price or feature set? Thanks.

    • Rebroadcast is a good one, I’ll get it added in!

      (Secret reality: Only Garmin allows re-broadcast. Polar technically does on a couple of devices, but it doesn’t actually work properly with most 3rd party apps/devices as it’s wonkily implemented).

  66. Rick McGinley

    Just got one to replace an Edge 1000 that completely lost cable communication capability. Two items are an issue. I want % grade as a display field and although “Grade” is listed as one of the available items in the O&M manual it is impossible to find on the device. Another Garmin classic is when you look for how to install a micro SD card it says you can do that and then it shows you a picture of the end of an Edgge 1000, not an Edge Explore, describing how to move the rubber piece and install the card and the rubber piece is non existent on an Edge Explore. With 15GB of internal memory this my not be an issue. My concern is when I want to install Europe maps or insert the SD card with the maps from my City Navigator Europe.
    Still sorting thru how to use the I/O apps for % grade.

  67. Joseph Fengler

    Thanks

  68. Arnold

    How does the Edge Explore compare to the Magellan/Mio Cyclo 405 (HC)?

  69. Frank

    Hi Ray, thanks for your review. I just got my Edge Explore delivered and I was trying to get the Strava IQ app on it, but it says it’s not compatible with this device. This is an important feature for me because all my routes are made on Strava. Do you know if this should be possible?

  70. Eric

    Have you actually tried to use Strava Routes with this device? I have not been able to install this app form the Connect IQ store.

    • Terry Jones

      Follow the link in my post above – Strava do not yet support the device. You should ask them as they develop and support the app.

    • Eric

      I already asked the question at Strava. But because Ray specifically states that strava routes are available I was wondering wether he had some bata test access or similar to the app. Hence my question wether he actually had it installed (or had been told or expected that it will become available)

    • I’ll poke and ask when the Strava Routes app will be enabled/marked for that device. In my case I used the routes from Strava as files manually.

    • Frank

      Thanks Ray!

    • Eric Peters

      I’ve did that but the Strava support desk told me that the Garmin team actually has made the App, so I re-asked the question again on the Garmin forums.

    • Eric Peters

      New update: no feedback at al in a week from Garmin. New Feedback from Strava: “there are no plans to make this available for this device”

      If you read the instructions for Connect IQ developers for the Edge Explore you will see that as long as you are not using power meters or training functionality than all application for the Edge 1000 will work with no problems on the Edge explore. The only thing you need to do is check the box that it is available for the Edge Explore also.

      So what Strava is saying is: “There are no plans to check a box”. I guess that’s one way of getting you customers to switch platform.

    • And thus illustrating quite nicely how close Garmin and Strava have become.

      If Strava wasn’t having their strings pulled by Garmin, then any self-operating company would of course enable this on all devices. But in this case, Garmin is likely pressuring Strava to not enable this to upsell units.

    • Laurent Coppejans

      Same problem here… The new Edge Explore is not listed as a compatible device for the Strava routes Connect IQ app! Whether it is Garmin pressuring Strava or a different reason Garmin should not make a false statement on their website saying this works… Right?!

    • Eric Peters

      Maybe the RouteCourse guys can make the workflow for transferring Strava routes with their app slightly more intuitive on the smartphone. (Now you have to copy passte the Strava route url manually but they should be able to pull a table with route name and URL quite simple using the Strava Api) Than we do not need to worry about this anymore.

    • Eric Peters

      I just checked this, apparently only your own starred Strava routes are imported automatically into RouteCourse. I never starred any of my routes. But this seems to work fine, not as super-smooth as the Strava routes app but good enough.

    • Laurent Coppejans

      Correct, it looks like RouteCourse offers a good workaround to get your Strava Routes into the Edge Explore.

  71. Steve

    I’m headed to South Korea for a year….

    Am I better off buying one of these in Korea with garmin maps already on it…or buy one while I’m in the U.S and add a open source Korea map to it?

    I’ve never had a gps unit on my bike and I dont know the differences in the amount of map information you get between Garmin vs open source maps.

    • Steve

      Bought the new Lezyne Mega XL and saved $80 over this Garmin. The battery life and free maps from Lezyne won me over aside from all its features.

      So far it’s been a great unit. P

    • Sander

      I read at the lezyne forum that the Mega C has only 64mb internal storage, that’s not much for maps…

    • Steve

      I have a ‘huge’ map section (defined by Lezyne) that includes Seoul, Korea and the file size is only 3.5mb.

      64mb is enough I think for most of all recreational cyclist for the areas they’re in or travel to. The offline maps are easy to set and download I’ve found.

    • Sander

      That’s not much :-). Can you upload gpx files when the device haves no internet connection?

  72. Jurriaan

    I have made a couple of rides with the device last week. Compared to my edge 520 it has a totally different (easier to use) interface and I like the touchscreen on this device.
    It has all the basic datasets I normally use on the edge 520. Things I miss at the moment are a couple of apps from the IQ store which arent available yet on the edge explore. Also gradient is missing, hope they will add it soon.
    Multiple bike profiles and more datascreens should also be added, I find it quite lame Garmin has limited this with their software, maybe someone can hack this device in the future to add this stuff 😉.
    All by all the device is great for my cycling needs, the batterylife is good and it has a quick processor. Sonhardware grat, software some work to do for Garmin.

  73. Miha

    Any news on availability? For Slovenia, it seems that the units will be available only in the mid-September, which is kind of lame from Garmin.

    As an alternative, can anyone check which maps are available at the unit? European wide or country wide only?

    Thanks

    • Jurriaan

      Map of whole Europa, which takes 9 gigabytes of internal space from a total of 16.

      With kind regards

    • And for availability, it’s already been shipping for about 3 or so weeks now. Definitely in the UK, Netherlands, and I think I saw some go to France too. I’m not sure why certain countries do or don’t get units within Europe at various times.

      That said, I’ll poke Clever Training Europe, which is UK based but ships everywhere in the EU (and then some), to see when they’ll stock – as that might solve your problem.

    • Miha

      Great thanks!

    • Aspirina

      Picked one up in a Garmin shop in Barcelona, also available from Amazon.

    • Miha

      Yeah, looking into different sites, but didn’t find any with availability soon, usually you can order and pay, but delivery 1-5 weeks.

      Waiting for Ray to order via Clever Training, if possible.

  74. Aspirina

    Quick question, has anyone been succesful installing the Birdseye layer? Neither bootcamp 4.7.0 in windows or mac recognise it as compatible

    Thanks

    • Steve

      Don’t know about the normal birdseye layer, but this does support birdseye/JNX raster maps using the alternative firmware.

      I assume they just haven’t updated the PC programs to support this unit yet.

  75. Sander

    Is there a possibility for switching off the “not recording” system warning? I don’t like to record every ride, but I like to navigate.

  76. DaveInMass

    Loving my new Edge Explore, as a step up from my trusty Edge 500, BUT…

    On a century yesterday there were basically straight stretches of road where every 100 meters I’d get the beep and a “sharp bend” warning. Other times I’d get the warning before bends on roads with 50mph speed limits and no need for even trucks to slow for the bend. SUPER annoying! SUPER distracting!

    I’ve read that on an Edge 1030 that can be disabled in the “activity profile”, but I don’t think the Edge Explore has those, and I can’t find anywhere in the menus where I can disable this incredibly awful “feature”.

    Can anyone help? I posted this to the Garmin forum also, and if someone there tells me the secret I’ll come back here and share it.

    • Terry Jones

      I’ve been seeing the same and have yet to work out what triggers it as it only happens sporadically.

    • Sander

      1. The “sharp bend” warning,
      2. The batterysave modus who stops working after some hours riding (the screen doesn’t turn off)
      3. The very slow course calculation (course with a distance of 105km)

      are my 3 problems with my new edge explore.

    • DaveInMass

      I rode a 40-mile course today and got *no* sharp turn warnings. Thinking back carefully about the two recent rides where I got the bogus warnings, both times they were on out-and-back sections (where the outgoing and ingoing course follows the same road). Does this fit your cases?

      Perhaps splitting out and back courses into two — one out and the other back — would be a work-around.

    • I’ll ask about turning it off.

      Just as an aside, you actually don’t need to have a course loaded. It simply looks at the road you’re on. I got some yesterday for example, no course loaded.

    • Terry Jones

      I believe what I have seen is consistent with @DaveInMass

      If I don’t have a route loaded the bend warnings are correct but if I am following a route that comes back along the same roads I get additional spurious warnings.

      I’ll try to reproduce it this evening.

    • Brian

      The sharp bend warnings are the worst. I can ‘kinda’ understand when navigating a course. But I got them this morning riding on the ‘cycleway’ without having any course/route navigation turned on. It’s a twisty trail, they come up a lot. There NEEDS to be a way to turn those off.

    • Brian Harris

      Garmin support just replied to me ‘Nope, no way to turn it off’. I may return it. Which is a same, I really like the unit otherwise. Complete nonsense to not have that as a setting.

    • DaveInMass

      In the last few rides I haven’t had a “sharp bend” warning problem. I do get an occasional warning — once in 100 miles last weekend — but at least there *was* a sort-of-sharp bend ahead. That ride had several miles of road that were on both the outbound and inbound course, so I was ready for some glitches, but actually it was flawless for the whole ride.

      Still, the sharp bend warnings seem totally unnecessary to me and I do wish it could be turned off.

  77. Nick

    How does it compare to the Garmin eTrex?

  78. Gary Bower

    I’m just getting into cycling as my ageing body is creaking with all the running and squash and I want something that I can continue when I can’t get about the court as well as I used to anymore.

    So, I’ve invested in a bit of kit to monitor progress. First ride out with the Edge Explore today and I was impressed. I did not use it to navigate, but tested ease of recording, ease of scrolling through screens whilst out and basic set-up, all of which were reasonably intuitive.

    Connectivity – I was able to connect the Polar H7 Bluetooth heart rate sensor to it (used for running with my Polar M400), which was a bonus as it means I don’t have to buy a new Garmin HR strap. Therefore, I advise that the product comparison table above is updated to show that it will connect with the Bluetooth smart HR sensor.

    Also connected the basic Garmin Ant+ cadence sensor. No problem in pairing, no problem in picking both up prior to the ride. Having read a couple of comments, I gave the crank arm a twirl before setting off to ensure it connected.

    The screen is easy to see and the size is a bonus over the Edge 520. Layout can be configured easily. The map screen is good and can auto-zoom (have yet to test this in action).

    I set manual laps to 1 mile over a short 15 mile test run (will increase this for longer distances ) and that proved to work well.

    Minor irritations:
    There isn’t an extended mount in the box, as described above. I found that the stem mount is fractionally too close to the body on a hybrid bike, the extended mount would alleviate this.

    Auto start is irritating. I set this to on without realising it. As I wheeled the bike round the side of my house it automatically started to record, then paused the recording as I slowed down to go through a gate and it took a bit of fiddling with the controls to stop the ‘activity’ and discard it – it couldn’t be done with one click. I would not advise auto start unless you are racing, when it will be useful to avoid getting distracted whilst starting – use prompt or manual start. Given that this feature can be switched off, I’m not too fussed about it now I have found out.

    All in all very good and when I got back, the bluetooth connection to my phone mean’t the data was already waiting for me to view in both Garmin Connect (which has improved tremendously since I last had a Garmin running watch in 2014) and Strava. Nice.

  79. Sander

    I send my edge explore bag, it had to much bugs, course calculation is slow, battery life to short .

  80. Jurriaan

    A couple of rides further, I have installed Komoot and Trailforks and it works like a charm. Untill now no major bugs.

    Mentioned on the Garmin forum: when a ride is uploaded on Garmin Connect you don’t get to see the time spent in each heart rate zone, odd! Also altitude and temperature lack in the course review on Garmin Connect.
    Can someone from Garmin clarify this?

    • Norbert

      You don’t see the temperature on the Garmin connect website because the Garmin edge has no temperature sensor.

    • Gary Bower

      On my course review on Garmin Connect in the bottom right hand corner of the map that shows the route I took, it provides icons for the general weather conditions, wind speed and direction and the temperature at the time of the ride.

      Agree that you don’t get time in the heart rate bands though, and it doesn’t show this in Strava upload either (although I only have the Strava basic account, not sure if it is shown in the Pro account)

  81. Ivan

    I got my edge explore this week and I am taking it back. I.have never owned a garmin and was really wanting a gps with a better map. My issue is I can’t see well and for me the device is somewhat hard to see. Mainly the map. It’s shows you as a tiny dot on the road which is hard for me to see. Also the screen kind of has glare in bright light and the command prompts on the map are very small.

    The device needs to be brighter still the map screen is dull. Also they needs to add one more custom data page two is ok but one more would be nice.

    I was under the impression this device uses trendlind? If so it sucks because it was routing down a very busy road the literally runs parallel to a park where tons of people bike. So I don’t know what is up with that. Overall not a bad device just not for me

  82. fito

    Has a light sensor for the automatic intensity of the varia smart lights?
    I can not see it in the pics like 1030

  83. I had a Garmin Touring Plus. I was very disappointed it kept losing turn by turn directions on a downloaded GPx route even if I only went a few feet off course. Could follow the red route line though. Plus other issues causing problems. There was no way to alter screen brightness etc.
    When I wanted the device to plot a route, it always seemed to use main roads not cycle routes despite my settings.

    Is the new Garmin Explore better at following GPx courses? and does it do routes on the device that don’t go on main roads like the touring plus did?

  84. Blair Russel

    Amazon had 13 units available on Wednesday, now Amazon says “Ships in 1 to 2 months”. Is there an avaiability problem?

    • Richard

      I bought mine directly from Garmin UK. It arrived in 2 days…

    • Ian Hartley

      Got mine at Halfords in Uk, price matched to £219, then BC discount down to £197 (plus did it by Quidco/click and collect so another £6 saved) 😉
      The unit is exactly what I have been looking for – some metrics but not overkill, decent mapping to help when lost/not sure where to go. As above tho, a little disappointed by the routing which does seem to take you on major roads even though ‘major roads’ are disabled in the settings. However, only used it for a day so could easily be user error !

  85. Charles Rush

    I wish it was easier to sync with Ride With GPS. I don’t care for Strava. Strava is like Facebook in my opinion and there are people I don’t want to have the ability to see when I’m on my bike. I can get my rides over to Ride With GPS but it would be nice if the Garmin Connect APP would just do it.

  86. PHIL SKERRATT

    Great review.

  87. RidingABikeShouldMeanFreedom

    Works as you would expect, that’s positive.

    I’ve to say though that Garmin misuses its market position. It’s good that Wahoo Bolt has gain popularity (all though it’s privacy ecosystem is a shame), so now Garmin suddenly can produce a $250 device.

    But, of course slimmed down as much as they could, because it doesn’t seems to be a company who really cares a lot about it’s costumers.

    Pretty lame battery life, it’s 2018 guys! You screwed your costumers here not by accident…It’s clear that forcing you to buy a more expensive device as much as possible is major point in the marketing strategy of Garmin

    Not possible to share GPX files between Garmin (Etrex) devices via bluetooth. Serious?! You screwed your customers another time, mainly cause this is just because you want them to force to make use of the Garmin Connect app, so it’s easy to gather as much of data of your customers as possible.

    So you need a phone and WIFI (and laptop?) to share GPX files between your Garmin Explore and your Etrex 30x. It’s insane, but apparently, people and reviewers are easy to fool with at this point in time…

    Go Wahoo (and fix your privacy problem, data suckers!)