Today Bontrager announced the Edge 1030.
Wait, Bontrager? Don’t you mean Garmin?
Nope, I mean that company owned by Trek but not named Trek – that’s Bontrager.
See, they’ve partnered with Garmin to offer a slightly unique Edge 1030 model that’s only available through Trek channels (meaning their dealers, their online store and sometimes some other random places). This model is fundamentally a stock Garmin Edge 1030 from a hardware standpoint, but does come with some unique software tweaks. Oh, and it’s got a super nice black looking case that reminds me how ugly Garmin’s stock Edge 1030 white design is.
Basically, it outclasses the original Garmin Edge 1030 in the looks department.
I’ve been toying with a loaner unit since earlier this summer, so let’s dig into what’s so special about it. Note that technically the unit is called the ‘Bontrager Garmin Edge 1030’, but I’m just gonna shorten that to ‘Bontrager Edge 1030’, because that’s what normal people do.
Special Sauce Software:
The changes incorporated into the Bontrager Edge 1030 fall into three basic camps:
A) Simple tweaks to default settings
B) Bontrager developed Connect IQ apps that are pre-loaded
C) Trek website platform integration tied to the Bontrager Edge 1030
Bontrager stressed numerous times that this isn’t a special Edge 1030 that has unique hardware or any massive special sauce. In fact, from a purely software standpoint you could replicate this exact setup on your own Edge 1030 [Except that as of this moment, Bontrager hasn’t made the CIQ apps available to all devices in the Connect IQ store for some reason, only their own Bontrager Edge 1030 shows as ‘compatible’]. And I suppose, if you got out a black Sharpie and spray paint you could even address the color scheme too.
It does come in a special box though – so that’s unique too.
First though, the changes to the default settings. Bontrager said these settings were based on feedback they received from their dealers as well as Trek owners, in terms of things people tended to change right out of the box. Especially so if they were buying Bontrager lights for/with the device (see my in-depth review of those just released connected lights here). Again, all of these are the same settings you can change yourself on your own device. And of course, you can change them to something else if you want:
A) Auto-pause: Set to enabled
B) Auto-lap: Set to off
C) Touchscreen Sensitivity: Set to High
D) Bike Lights set to activate upon timer start (default is unit power on, which I agree is annoying)
E) Bike light network mode set to auto: This in turn means the ambient light sensor on the Edge will automatically control the flash modes between day and night light conditions
In addition to those settings, Bontrager is pre-loading three Connect IQ apps that I’ll cover in more detail in a moment. They are:
A) Bontrager Connect IQ Light Control: This also replaces the stock Garmin light control, and is accessible from the widget menu (single swipe down)
B) Trek Bike Chooser Data Field: This allows you to select your current bike, and can be resized into any data field size on any page
C) Trek Bike Garage Widget: This is accessible from widget menu and is essentially the same as the bike chooser field, however it also triggers Garmin Connect Mobile to open a link to the Trek website when service reminders are needed (more on that in a second too).
Now it’s two of the three of those Connect IQ apps that actually get to the meat of why Trek/Bontrager wanted their own Edge variant. See, one of the things to understand about bike manufacturers is that they all struggle with what they see as a one-time, one-way relationship. When you walk into your local bike shop and buy a bike, there’s a very high likelihood that the manufacturer of that bike will never know who you are. They won’t have your name, your contact info, or anything else. They can’t tell you about recalls or service alerts proactively, because they simply don’t know you exist.
When I talk to power meter companies that are working with the big bike manufactures to have power meters built into their bikes, one of the biggest draws there isn’t actually power. It’s requiring an app to register the bike as a whole, so the manufacturer knows something – anything, about the bike owner.
Of course, we weren’t born yesterday. We know that a key reason they want that (arguably the main reason) is to be able to send you promotional information. To try and get you hooked into being a brand-loyal customer of theirs for the rest of your life. When they have access to your inbox, it makes it far easier for them to do so. After all, if a company e-mails you every other week for 3-4 years, you’re likely to eventually buy something from them (or at a minimum be aware of their offerings). Whereas if you get zero e-mails from them, it’s likely you don’t care much about what they have to say (and their opportunity is lost).
That said, Trek does appear to be trying to do some customer-focused items within this. So, let’s talk about that.
(Note: I’m not going to cover the base Edge 1030 features in this review, since nothing has changed there. I’ve been using it – the Bontrager Edge 1030 – on rides lately and it’s functioning exactly like my Edge 1030 does. You can read my full Edge 1030 In-Depth Review from last summer here.)
The Trek Bike Garage:
Once you’ve got your Trek Edge 1030 unboxed and ready to roll, you’ll pair it up to your smartphone. As part of that, since you have the two Trek Bike Garage/Chooser apps on there, it’ll pop-up a little dialog to take you over to Trek’s site and create an account on their site within their ‘Bike Garage’. This authentication is somewhat similar to what past Connect IQ apps use to authorize you, but seems slightly different from a user interface standpoint. Not bad, just a tiny bit different. The point of this though is to link your Garmin Connect Account (technically not your Edge precisely) to Trek.
It’s here on Trek’s site where you can create virtual bikes that replicate your physical bikes. No, this isn’t an avatar type thing. Rather, it’s just simply a way to track your bike maintenance.
In my case, I created a handful of bikes. Collectively between The Girl and I, in our stable we have 9 bikes (seriously, how do we have 9 bikes?). Note: That doesn’t count any of the kids’ Fred Flintstone style push bikes. Somewhat surprisingly to me, 3 of those 9 bikes are actually Trek. The Girl has a Speed Concept triathlon bike, I have an around-town Trek Belleville bike, and then I have a bit of a test mule Trek 1.2 bike that I rarely use these days. Plus of course a variety of other bikes from Canyon, Issac, Giant, and Cervelo.
I went onto the site and created a couple of them in the garage. You can choose from the most recent models of Trek bikes, but not all older bikes. For example, my Belleville wasn’t on there. Trek says they’re working to add bike types, but for launch went for just the current generation units. In addition, you can always just choose the equivalent of ‘Other’. You can add in a serial number (but it’s not required), as well as a baseline odometer reading.
Finally, as part of this you’ll choose your local Trek shop. In my case, there’s one just down the street, so that’s easy enough. They have a bit of a checklist for all this as you go through it. Note that at any time you can revoke access from either the Trek or Garmin platform (in the event you have a falling out with Trek).
Meanwhile, back on the Bontrager Edge 1030, it’ll have linked all this together magically behind the scenes. So if you swipe down from the widget menu you’ll see the Trek Bike Garage Widget. This shows you which bike is currently selected to ride. It’s based on this that will increment the odometer on the website.
At the same time, the Bike Chooser data field does pretty much the same thing – allowing you to select a specific bike that you’re riding that day (in the event you have more than one bike):
Why might you want to do this you ask? Well, this all gets down to incrementing that odometer reading. The reason they want you to do that is so that you can be aware of when you should go in for maintenance on the bike, specifically, preventative maintenance. The system will automatically e-mail you at different intervals depending on the recommended maintenance based on hours of riding. For example, at the 25-hour level it’ll send you a reminder to consider washing your bike. Meanwhile, at the 50hr and 100hr levels they’re going to recommend a bit more. You can see an example of the two e-mails below. The one to the right is the 25hr one, which includes a link to ‘Learn how’ to do some base maintenance.
You can see below that it’s a pretty straightforward site full of recommendations. Good stuff.
If you click on the ‘Service Package’ in the other e-mail, you’ll see what they recommend specifically.
And there’s a link there on the site to find your nearest shop. Or, in the e-mail itself is your local shop’s actual e-mail. Again, all about making it easy for you. All of this, including current service reminders, are also shown directly in your bike garage online:
Of course, like everything, there’s dual motives here. Certainly they want you happy on their bike. And it’s known to any regular cyclist that keeping a well-maintained bike is likely to keep you on that path to happiness. If you’re unhappy and talking trash about the bike, that’s not good for them (especially if it’s something trivial like derailleur/shifting alignment, which to a less experienced person might as well mean a new bike).
But of course, the ulterior motive here is getting you into a Trek shop. Their dealers make money not just on service (though not often the first one or two service check-ups)– but especially on you buying stuff in their shop. Heck, most times I walk into a bike shop to buy X, I end up buying X, Y, and Z. Trek knows this, and they want to find a way to keep their dealers happy and selling Trek bikes.
Now while it’s easy for more experienced riders like myself (and probably you) to laugh at the idea of going to a bike shop every 50 hours of riding. But that’s actually not what Trek is saying directly. They’re giving you a specific list of things to consider doing based on their experience in building and maintaining bikes. And here’s the thing:
I bet you pretty much do that exact list anyway.
Meaning, if you’re experienced with minimal bike maintenance look at the 50hr list above. Aside from inspecting the bottom bracket and adjusting the wheel bearings, that’s pretty much the common list of things I’m always checking. So in some ways, it’s probably good for us more frequent riders to sometimes get that reminder of things to clean-up. As for the 100hr bike maintenance checklist? Hmm…Looks like I’m a little bit behind on all my bikes.
Gotta start somewhere I suppose.
Of course – some might not want their information so readily available to Trek for any number of reasons. In which case I remind you: You don’t have to. You don’t have to enable/do any of this. You can grant and revoke access at any time. You never have to set it up at all. Said differently: If you complain in the comments about this, I know you didn’t read the post. 🙂
It sounds like both Garmin and Trek/Bontrager view this entire thing as a bit of an experiment. From Garmin’s standpoint, it’s a low-cost, low-risk venture. They make a very minor tweak in a well-oiled manufacturing line to spit out a different colored cover and different box. They slap on half a dozen extra files to the Edge 1030 and call it done.
Meanwhile, from Trek’s standpoint, they can see if this does increase engagement with the users that buy it. Does it result in more conversion to bike shops for them? And for the users, does it increase their happiness level of their bike experience? Obviously having a sleek black Edge 1030 will do that inherently over the white one, so I’m talking beyond just the color scheme. Is it resulting a more well-maintained bike?
Of course – if this goes well I’d expect Trek/Garmin to expand it beyond the Edge 1030. While the Edge 1030 is Garmin’s best cycling computer, it’s also the most expensive, thus, its reach is less than something like an Edge 520/520 Plus since it’s three times as expensive. Also, I think there’s some missed opportunity here for creating a Bontrager light bundle with the Bontrager Edge 1030. After all – that’s Bontrager’s premier tech offering and they even bundle the app with the Edge 1030. Why can’t I buy an Edge 1030/Light bundle and save a few bucks?
Still, I’m interested to see how this plays out. I suspect Garmin’s going to be receiving a bunch of other calls and e-mails today from other bike frame manufacturers on how they can do the same. And while I don’t think creating 18 branded variants is the right answer, I think Garmin could do more from a backend standpoint around this that would cater to what these companies really want.
For example – when setting up my bike profile on the Edge itself, why can’t I select the exact frame I have and start tracking there? And then have Garmin track that and from there enable me to allow the same level of integration with Trek, Canyon, and so-on. Bike companies would clamor for this – and once Garmin had an onboarding process for bike companies, they could self-manage their own inventory.
Anyway, food for thought. In the meantime, the Bontrager Edge 1030 is available/shipping today (and already in stores in fact) and…available in black. Price is the same as the Garmin variant at $599.
With that – thanks for reading!