JUMP TO:

BUY NOW:

  • Amazon.com
  • Wiggle

Garmin Edge Explore 2 In-Depth Review

This week at Eurobike 2022, Garmin announced the new Edge Explore 2, which is a product line that’s historically been targeted at bike touring and navigation/routing. That continues with the Edge Explore 2, though I think the reality is that it’s now simply a Garmin bike computer targeted at anyone wanting a bigger display that doesn’t care as much about all the fancier physiological training load bits. Albeit, the new Edge Explore 2 still adds some of that too.

Speaking of what’s new here, it’s a massive slate of features since the previous edition four years ago. Most notably though is a revamped user interface, free and easily downloadable global cycle maps, a barometric altimeter along with Garmin ClimbPro, and greatly expanded sensor support – including power meters, Garmin inReach, and more. Finally, Garmin has expanded the eBike features, as well as battery claims, though they didn’t also swap out the GPS chipset for higher-end multi-band ones seen in some of their other 2022 products.

In any case, I dive into all these new features, how they work, and plenty more in the review below. Note that this Edge Explore 2, mount, and very expensive USB cables are media loaners and were sent over by Garmin to test. As usual, it’ll go back to them afterwards. If you found this review useful, feel free to hit up the links at the end of the site, or consider becoming a DCR Supporter. With that – let’s begin!

What’s New:

DSC_2135

Now, describing what’s new in the Edge Explore 2 is a bit challenging in that so much has changed since 2018 when the previous Edge Explore came out, in terms of Garmin features. We’re likely talking hundreds of very minor tweaks (things like re-arranging of menus or changing of icons). But there are some very legit new features as well that are easier to identify. I’m going to focus on those, and then backfill other minor differences as I curate them.

– Revamped user interface to same as Edge 1040
– Added full & free downloadable global cycle maps (via computer/USB)
– Added barometric altimeter
– Added internal temperature sensor (with data fields/recording)
– Added USB-C port
– Added Garmin ClimbPro
– Added power meter sensor support
– Added smart trainers sensor support
– Added Tempe sensor support (external temperature sensor)
– Added Garmin inReach satellite support
– Added/expanded eBike sensor support
– Added new dedicated eBike connection page for supported eBike
– Added music control data page (also coming to Edge 1040 series in 2022Q3)
– Added support for three activity profiles
– Added VO2Max & Recovery Time
– Added Fitness Age & Intensity Minutes
– Added underside power pins for constant power (Edge Explore 2 Power Bundle models only!!!)
– Added full Garmin RCT715 Radar-Camera support (swipe-down camera controls)
– Added quick transfer of previous Garmin Edge sensors (during setup)
– Added smart trainer course ride option (to ride previous ride or courses)
– Added battery saver option for 24 hours of battery life in navigation mode (but up to 34 hours GPS ride time w/o nav)
– Added ability to configure data pages/data fields from Garmin Connect phone app
– Added on-device Garmin Connect IQ App Store
– Added bike alarm feature (detects movement and screams like a parrot being run over)
– Increased regular GPS battery time increased from 12 hours to 16 hours
– Still has Garmin Connect IQ Support
– Storage remains the same at 16GB
– Same color touchscreen as previous, which is 3” and 240x400px
– Weight is 104g with an IPX7 water resistance rating
– Increased price from $249 to $299

How does it differ from something like a higher-end Edge 1040? Well, there’s a lot of differences (far more than I list below), mainly around physiological metrics (e.g. Strain or Training Load/Recovery), but also more advanced features like displaying of Cycling Dynamics data mid-ride (the Edge Explore 2 does record it for later though, for display on Garmin Connect). However, here’s the quick and dirty version:

– Price – $299 vs $599
– Edge 1040 display is bigger
– Edge 1040 has Solar option ($749)
– Edge 1040 has power pins on underside (Edge Explore 2 only does in Power Bundle models)
– Edge 1040 has Strava Live Segment support, Edge Explore 2 does not
– Edge 1040 has structured/downloadable workout support, Edge Explore 2 does not
– Edge 1040 has multiband/dual-frequency GPS, Edge Explore 2 does not
– Edge 1040 allows numerous activity (ride) profiles, Edge Explore 2 only allows three profiles
– Edge 1040 has a boatload of different training load & recovery metrics
– Edge 1040 has new Stamina feature for mid-ride pacing
– Edge 1040 has Power Guide (also for ride pacing)
– Edge 1040 has WiFi sync, Edge Explore 2 has no WiFi
– Edge 1040 has open ANT+ Gear Shifting support, as well as proprietary Shimano Di2 shifting support
– Edge 1040 has extended display mode (for watches), whereas Edge Explore 2 does not)
– Edge Explore 2 has ‘Guest Mode’, whereas Edge 1040 does not (allows someone to use unit without dorking up settings

Phew, got all that? Good, let’s get cooking on the review.

What’s In The Box:

DSC_2007

Inside the box of the Edge Explore 2 (base model) you’ve got the unit itself, a couple of Garmin quarter-turn rubber band mounts, a USB-C (!) charging cable, a lanyard, and a small pile of paper stuff.

DSC_2017

The Garmin quarter turn mounts are the same as they’ve been using for more than a decade, and work great. In fact, I’d say for the majority of my rides I’m just using the simple rubber banded mounts. You can easily buy a pack of them for cheap, if you’ve got more bikes.

DSC_2020

Or, you can just use any 3rd party quarter-turn compatible mount, which…is basically every bike computer mount company out there.

For a quick sizing comparison, below is the Edge 530/830 (same size, at left)), Edge Explore 2, and Edge 1040 Solar (right):

DSC_2117

At a slight angle:

DSC_2121

And here’s the back:

DSC_2123

Note that the base model of the Edge Explore 2 does not come with any power charging pins on the underside of the mount for weather-proof charging. You can always charge it anytime you want using the USB-C port (including mid-ride), but that’s not an ideal thing to do in rainy weather.

Next, if you get the power mount edition (which, won’t be available till later in August), you’ll also get the power mount stuffs, notably the out-front mount and small tools. Here’s what that looks like:

DSC_2047

More on all that a bit later in the post. With that, let’s get right into the basics.

The Basics:

DSC_2052

To begin, it’s easiest to use your phone to set up the Garmin Edge Explore 2. This is for a few reasons, but most notably that if you’ve got an existing Garmin Edge device, it’ll transfer over your sensors. It won’t transfer over your activity profiles (and thus your data pages/config), which is sorta an odd quirk. I suspect it’s because the Edge Explore 2 is limited to three predefined activity profiles, whereas other Edge devices (aside from the original Edge Explore), have many more possible profiles.

Once that’s complete though, you’ll be ready on the main screen. This is the new revamped user interface that was introduced on the higher-end Edge 1040 last month. It shows your activity profiles up top (Road/Indoor/Off Road), followed by your most recent ride or course added, and then below that are other widget glances.

DSC_2181

Those widget glances are customizable, and changeable – even allowing for Garmin Connect IQ down the road. For example, within that, you’ll see Navigation (where you can choose where to go), your ride history, your VO2Max, weather, and more.

DSC_2184 DSC_2182

At the bottom you can use the pencil icon to change the order, or add/remove ones.

Also at the bottom is the menu to access various settings:

DSC_2184DSC_2182

It’s here you can customize your activity profiles, pair sensors, as well as access device settings including phone pairing, incident detection, battery saver mode, and more. For the activity profiles, the Edge Explore 2 is a bit unique here in that you’ve got three preset activity profiles: Road, Indoor, and Off Road. You can change the color/name of these if you want, but that won’t change the ride type. You’ll notice below I changed “Indoor” to “Trainer”, but the ride type is still “Indoor”:

DSC_2187

That’s less meaningful for this indoor profile, but more important for off-road types. For example, if you wanted one ride profile for MTB, and another for Gravel, you can’t technically associate those to the slightly different ride types that Garmin actually tracks. Practically speaking, you can still change it after the fact in Garmin Connect, but it’s a minor nit here.

In any case, within any of the ride profiles, you can customize a slew of data screens (at least four custom ones, plus map, elevation, group track for LiveTrack, lap summary, ClimbPro, and eBike pages). Each custom page can have from 1 to 10 data fields on it.

DSC_2188 DSC_2189

Meanwhile, back in the activity profile settings, you can create alerts for things like distance, time, calories, heart rate, cadence, power, eating, drinking, turn-around, and even Connect IQ alerts. Plus configure bits like Auto Pause or automatic timer start.

DSC_2191

Additionally, you can configure the satellite system to use. The Edge Explore 2 doesn’t get the fancier multiband/dual-frequency GNSS chipset seen on the Edge 1040, but, it does get a battery saver mode that can pretty significantly extend the battery life.

DSC_2192

The battery saver officially gets 26 hours of battery life in GPS mode, by optimizing your settings. But, if you fully charge up your Edge Explore 2, it’ll have upwards of 34 hours of GPS mode. That’s because Garmin’s official 26-hour specs here assume navigation, whereas the 34-hours specs assumes no-navigation. Point being, you’ll probably do better on battery life than the official specs if you aren’t navigating.

DSC_2193 DSC_2194

The battery claims also include paired sensor support, of which the Edge Explore 2 has expanded sensor support to include power meters, smart trainers, Garmin inReach, and more. You can pair and save multiple sensors in the list, so if you’ve got more than one bike with sensors on it, it’s not a problem.

DSC_2195 DSC_2196

Here’s exactly which sensor types you can pair:

– Heart Rate (ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart)
– Speed/Cadence (ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart)
– Cycling Power (ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart)
– Garmin VIRB Action Camera (ANT)
– Cycling Lights (ANT+)
– Cycling Radar (ANT+)
– Garmin Edge Remote (ANT+)
– Garmin inReach Satellite Communicator (ANT+)
– Shimano STEPS (proprietary ANT)
– eBike (ANT+)
– Tempe Temperature Sensors (ANT+)
– Smart Trainers (ANT+)

And again, you can pair multiple of the same sensor types if you want. The Edge will automatically connect to said sensor when you power the sensor on. It’s what’s known as a sensor pool, so as soon as you turn your cranks or put on your heart rate strap, it’ll wake-up that sensor, and the Edge will see it. If you’ve got two sensors of the same type that get turned on at the same time (such as letting your friend ride one of your bikes), it’ll simply ask you what sensor to use. You can give custom names to sensors.

Next, back on the main widget glances area, you’ve got the slate of new-to-the-Edge-Explore-2 FirstBeat features, including Vo2max, Recovery Time, Fitness Age, and Intensity Minutes:

DSC_2197

You can tap any of these to see a bigger version of it, including history data. Keep in mind not every ride will trigger a new VO2Max estimate, so these won’t change every single day.

DSC_2198 DSC_2199

Also back on the homepage is Garmin’s new on-device Connect IQ App Store, which shows recommended apps for the Edge Explore 2. You can download more apps from the Garmin Connect IQ app on your phone, which pushes it to the Edge Explore 2. To be a broken record here (since the Fenix launched back in January). This continues to be a bummer, with only three possible apps shown. I’d really like to see Garmin have this fully populated with a good blend of apps for whatever device it is they launch next. Sit down, have a meeting, decide on 8-10 awesome Connect IQ apps, and properly give me a reason to install those apps.

DSC_2200

Finally, one very unique feature to the Edge Explore series is ‘Guest mode’. This is designed for cycling tour operators who hand out bike computers with bikes, usually with preloaded routes (often for multi-day tours). When you enable Guest Mode, it basically locks down settings, so that the customers can use the bike computer without messing up the settings (purposefully or accidentally).

DSC_2201

When you enable guest mode, it’ll ask you for a PIN. Once enabled, you essentially can’t get into the settings menu. You can pair sensors, change brightness levels, still see stats like VO2max, language, and change color mode (day/night/auto). You can also continue to change display units between metric/statute (e.g. KM to miles), in distance/speed, elevation, temperature, weight, time format, and position format (GPS grid types). It’ll then revert back to the previous settings once Guest Mode is disabled.

DSC_2202

It’s always been quirky to me that this feature is *ONLY* offered on the Edge Explore series, but isn’t actually offered on the higher-end units (like an Edge 1040). Meaning, if a tour operator wanted to offer higher-end units, they actually couldn’t if this feature was still desirable.

Riding With It:

DSC_2169

For this (probably shorter) section, I’m going to cover the non-navigational bits, and then talk about routing in the next section. To get started, we’ll choose the activity profile for the ride we’re doing. You can simply tap it, and that’ll open up the data pages you’ve configured for that ride profile:

DSC_2203

To start a ride, you’ll press the lower right button, which starts recording. If you don’t press that button, it’ll start chirping at you, warning you that it’s been ignored. As I write this text, it’s chirping at me, sitting in front of me, because I haven’t pressed start yet. You can also configure auto-start once it passes a certain threshold. I personally don’t use it, because if the unit gets left/turned on in a car/vehicle/plane/whatever, then it’ll start recording.

IMG_0682

Around this same timeframe, any sensors you’ve paired will have automatically connected. If you’ve got a power meter, you can do a calibration of it from the menu (technically a zero offset).

In the event you’re indoors and have a smart trainer, then you can control the smart trainer using a variety of options (seen below). This includes re-riding past activities as well as riding downloaded courses.

DSC_2205

However, it’s important to note that the Edge Explore 2 doesn’t support riding structured workouts. So you can’t send those to this specific unit. That’s a quirky (if not stupid) limitation, given the same-priced three-year-old Edge 530 supports it just fine. It’s this type of artificial product differentiation that drives people crazy.

DSC_2204

Heading back outside, here’s a couple of shots from my rides. You can see I’ve created a blend of data fields/pages, including the always-pretty graphical ones. I’ve got power and heart rate data mixed in there.

IMG_0678

The unit has a backlight, which will automatically illuminate at sunset, as was the case for a ride earlier this week. When it does that, it’ll actually invert the screen to a black background with white text, so that it’s not just a glowing orb on your handlebars:

IMG_0698

If configured, you can have it automatically transmit your position/route to friends/family using Garmin’s LiveTrack feature. I’ve used this on all my rides, and it just automatically starts each time I press the start button. My wife and a few friends then automatically get an e-mail with a link to my ride, and they can see my planned course, my current location, as well as even my heart rate and power metrics.

Lvetrack

And then they can see the map like this, along with those various stats along the left:

If I were to crash my bike, then the unit would trigger an incident detection alert. When that happens I’ve got 30 seconds to cancel it (in case of a false positive), before it starts notifying my friends and family. At which point they’ll get texted essentially a variant of the LiveTrack link above, but with more urgency in the wording. You can choose which activity profiles this is enabled for, within the settings:

DSC_2206

For those with compatible eBikes, you can pair to Shimano or other eBike systems, and get a slate of information wirelessly transmitted to the Edge, including current battery, estimated battery range, assist mode, and more. It’s pretty slick.

IMG_0852

Note, this is all done wirelessly, and does require that your eBike has the right components. The answer to whether it has said components is almost certainly no. For example, I’ve got two eBikes, neither supports this. I went to arguably one of the premier bike shops in Amsterdam, with piles of eBikes, and none of them had the right bits to support this. Even at Eurobike, finding a bike to test this was tricky. The fun thing is that almost every Shimano powered bike itself actually supports this data, but it’s the tiny little wireless transmitter bit that most companies don’t bother to add (either on Shimano, Bosch, or others), and thus, you’re missing that last critical step.

Once your ride is done, you’ll get the new user interface summary screens, as seen on the Edge 1040:

DSC_2207 DSC_2208 DSC_2208

At the same time, your ride will sync up to Garmin Connect, and then onwards to platforms like Strava and others. For some metrics, like Garmin’s Cycling Dynamics when paired with a Vector or Rally power meter, you won’t see the advanced metrics during the ride, but you will see them afterwards on Garmin Connect:

RallyStats

Note that during a ride, there isn’t the option to see Normalized Power (NP), but it will show up after the fact in the ride file on Garmin Connect (or any 3rd party platform that shows NP). Here’s the power meter-related data fields you can add to your data screens mid-ride:

  • Power (instant)
  • Avg Power (full ride average)
  • 3s Power
  • Lap Power
  • Max Power
  • Kilojoules
  • Power Zone

Additionally, you’ll see eBike metrics here too, if you managed to get those paired:

eBikePerformance

As for accuracy, we’ll take a quick look at one ride from earlier this week. Most of my other rides have been more mundane commuting and related bits. This ride was with an Edge 1040 Solar as comparison, along with a Garmin Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 955:

GPSAccuracy1

Even when passing under massive highway interchanges, I had no accuracy issues:

GPSAccuracy2

The same of course was true out on what were basically farm roads:

GPSAccuracy2

Overall, for road riding (or even city riding), the accuracy here seems perfectly fine. You can check out DesFit’s review for details on the mountain biking side of life.

IMG_0706

One of the main reasons you’d probably choose the Edge Explore 2 is for navigation. The unit comes with maps for your region, that are preloaded on the Edge Explore 2’s internal 16GB of storage. If you plan to go to another region (e.g. to Europe from Australia), you can use Garmin Express on your computer, to download another region’s maps. This is free, and a notable change for Garmin in this product line. Also, these maps include all of the popularity routing/heatmap bits, which makes them better than the previous free maps you could download from 3rd party platforms.

These maps include so-called points of interest, which can be anything from a café, bike shop, hotel, or monument. You can crack open the navigation section and browse through categories, or, if you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can simply type it in the ‘Location search’ box on the widget glances:

DSC_2210

Meanwhile, within the ‘Navigation’ section, you can browse the map, load up saved courses, search through certain categories, and look at past searches. The past searches is handy if you’re searching for a few things and eventually go back and select one of your earlier searches.

DSC_2211

If you chose the generic search page, you can see the revamped categories here, including bike shops (which then has subcategories including repair stations, compressed air, and shops themselves):

DSC_2212 DSC_2213

If you tap one of these, it’ll show you the nearby options, which you can select to immediately route to:

DSC_2216

However, I suspect most routing is for course-based, or impromptu routing. For that, tap ‘Saved Courses’. It’s here you’ll find any courses you’ve sent to the unit. But you can also tap the plus in the lower right corner, and then load a Course Creator up, Round-Trip Course, or create a course from a past activity.

DSC_2218

Course creator allows you to string together points using just the unit. It’s a bit cumbersome compared to the speed of a phone, but it works just fine. You can search for POI, or simply add points on a map, and it’ll add them one after another to create your route:

DSC_2219

Alternatively, Round-Trip Course option lets you specify a design you want to ride, and a desired direction (if any), and then it’ll come back and give you three different routes. This is awesome when you don’t really know/care where you want to ride, but just want some generally good routes to ride. This uses all of that previously mentioned heatmap data from millions of daily activities to figure out where people actually ride, and base routes on that:

DSC_2220

So in general, my experience is pretty good with this feature once I get started. Though, the actual route creation process here takes a number of minutes. It’s definitely not at all fast.

DSC_2171 DSC_2172

But of course, if you know where you’re going, you’ll pull open a pre-planned course/route. This can be sent to the unit automatically from platforms like Komoot, Strava, RideWithGPS, and plenty more. Or, you can import GPX files. And finally, you can create routes on Garmin Connect directly as well (phone or desktop). You can see the elevation profile and overall stats of it, as well as browse a map of it.

DSC_2221

Once you’ve tapped it to ride, it’ll offer to navigate to the start of the route, if you’re not next to it. This is useful if you’ve planned your route perhaps days/weeks in advance on a multi-day trip, and end up starting a few kilometers/miles from your next planned segment. Unlike past Garmin units, this won’t generally show a ‘Route Calculating’ banner. Instead, it might for a split second show the word Calculating, but otherwise you’re ready to roll.

DSC_2225

Garmin has changed the way they do this routing, and mostly just hides this behind the scenes. Previously, it’d try and calculate the entire route up-front, which could take many minutes. Of course, there’s no reason to be waiting to calculate a portion of the route that could be hours from now. So now you can just ride immediately. You can either ride from the map page, or any other data page.

clip_image001

When you get about 150-200m out from a turn, it’ll pop-up a banner and chirp, notifying you of the turn:

clip_image001[6]

Once you pass the turn, it’ll go away – usually within a few seconds. This is really the singular area I found the Edge 1040 a bit faster, specifically on the notices going away after making a turn onto the new road/path. The Edge Explore 2 seemed to linger just a few extra seconds. You’d probably never notice it, unless you were riding side by side with two units.

In the event you go off-course, it’ll either automatically re-route you, or offer multiple options. It just depends on what it thinks is the best thing to do. Most times it just automatically re-routed me. But every once in a while if I’d screwed up significantly, it’d give me options for what I should do (for example, if I’d gone down a one-way road that might add significant time to my journey to get out of).

clip_image001[4]

All my re-routing navigation happened virtually instantly. It just flashed ‘Calculating’ for a split second on the screen, and then went about doing its thing in the background. At the next point I could turn, it already had a new route planned, usually just to get me back on track at the next logical point down the road. You can also pause navigation as well (and of course end it too), in the event you want to have it stop chirping at you for a bit while you go take pictures down that pretty side road.

One new feature in the Edge Explore 2 that depends on navigation is ClimbPro. This will automatically show your distance, ascent, and gradient to the top of the climb. As noted, this does depend on having a course/route loaded (even if it’s one you just created on the unit itself, or as part of navigating somewhere). Meaning, this won’t show-up in just free-ride mode.

DSC_2222 DSC_2224

ClimbPro continues to be one of my favorite Garmin features, across either cycling or hiking/running. However, with Hammerhead having their similar CLIMBR feature now offered sans-course, it’s definitely time for Garmin to game-up there, and offer a route-free version of ClimbPro. I suspect it’s probably only a matter of time.

Finally, to download maps, you’ll use Garmin Express on your computer, to download maps for regions other than your own. The available space is shown at the bottom.

In any case, for navigation and routing, the Edge Explore 2 easily and efficiently routes me to where I need to go, and makes it easy to do impromptu routing if I need to.

Edge Power Mount/Bundle:

DSC_2047

Now, I’m going to do an entirely separate post on the Garmin Edge Power Mount, but I just wanted to ensure a few things were clarified. First, the Garmin Edge power mount is essentially a charging mount. It doesn’t have a battery built into it, rather, it simply connects to something else on your bike to charge it. That’s it. There’s no battery inside, nor is there any fancy data connectivity. All data connectivity happens wirelessly (e.g. for Shimano, etc e-bikes). This is just a fancy charging cable that also happens to be a Garmin Edge mount.

Second, is that the Garmin Explore 2 comes in two variants:

– Garmin Edge Explore 2 base unit ($299): Has no battery connector power pins on back of Edge unit
– Garmin Edge Explore 2 power bundle unit ($399): Has battery pins on back of unit, plus Garmin Edge Power Mount included in box

Point being, if you plan to use the Garmin Edge Explore 2 with a Garmin battery pack or charging mount, you really need to get that mount bundle up-front, else your Edge won’t have the pins to make it work.

Now, as for the mount, here’s the mount – which is compatible with all existing Garmin Edge devices that have power pins on them (e.g. Edge 530, Edge 830, Edge 1030, Edge 1030 Plus, Edge 1040, etc…):

DSC_2230

As you can see, it’s got little power pins on the inside, just like the old battery pack did:

DSC_2231

The mount has a latch on the side which locks it in place securely. Out the bottom of the mount is a cable, which is the Canbus cable.

DSC_2232

That cable can directly plug into a Cannondale Smartsense system (the front light), like so:

DSC_2142 DSC_2153

DSC_2149

However, if you don’t have a Cannondale compatible system (which would be 99.999% of you), then you’ve got three options:

A) Buy a Garmin adapter cable for USB-A ($50)
B) Buy a Shimano eBike power adapter cable for USB-A ($50)
C) Buy a Bosch adapter cable for USB-A ($50)

Apparently Garmin’s 2022 USB-C port mojo ran-out here. Either way, to me, $50 for this cable is peak-crazy. Even Shimano doesn’t chart that much for their own Di2 cables. So at this point you’ve got $129 (mount) + $50 (cable) + some amount of money for either a USB battery bank ($20+) or a fancy bike ($Thousands). I mean, c’mon.

Garmin-Power-Mount-Cables

Which is too bad, as I actually think it’s a pretty clever and weather-resistant solution. And I’d love to see it expanded. For example, the way Garmin has designed the pod, it appears to be designed to be swappable to other mounts. Take the Cannondale Synapse bike I’m working on a long-term review on. That actually has the Canbus system on it, and the mount plugs into the power and works perfectly (no extra $50 cable required, since it’s built in). That’d be ideal, save the fact that the Cannondale Synapse has aero handlebars, which aren’t round. So it won’t work here. Certainly, Garmin already works with Cannondale, so I’d hope a solution could happen there for that. But ultimately, having Garmin publish the mount compatibility specs for this makes more sense, allowing people to buy the power module/pod/puck situated on the bottom.

DSC_2234DSC_2233

But, I’m probably getting ahead of myself. Like I promised – a full/dedicated post later on this. I want to first see if I can get it hooked up somehow to my Urban Arrow e-cargo bike. But I think that’s going to require a different head unit.

Wrap-Up:

DSC_2235

For the price and display size, the Edge Explore 2 is hard to beat, at least for most cyclists that are more focused on the journey than the mid-ride metrics. The display is bigger than the Edge 530/830 series, making it easier to read and with the new user interface, it’s generally cleaner to read too. Of course, the tradeoff here is that it lacks some of the advanced training load/recovery metrics of the Edge 530/830, or even on-device Strava Live Segments. On the flip-side, seeing ClimbPro added to Garmin’s Explore series of bike computers is awesome.

From a usability and functionality perspective, I could easily use this bike computer day-to-day. The cool part is if you’ve got a Garmin watch, it contributes to Physio True-Up, so if you’re riding with a power meter and perhaps have a higher-end Forerunner or Fenix series, this will send the completed ride files to that, where those watches will do all the fancy calculations for training load/recovery (to be displayed on those watches).

Still, I feel like the lack of inclusion in charging pins on the base unit is a weird thing. Garmin has that on their $299 Edge 530, which is 3 years old now. And they’re releasing a power mount bundle with the Edge Explore 2 for an extra $100 (which, is initially a seemingly good deal since the power mount itself cost $129). However, I just don’t understand why this wouldn’t have those pins built in at this price point. Nor do I understand why on earth the basically required power cables then costs another $50. That’s crazy. On the flip side, I get that this probably won’t matter to most people picking up this unit, since they’d likely buy the power mount bundle anyways.

Still, for the vast majority of people out there, this is an awesome bike computer for the price. I often use my parents as examples of potential consumers. This is the perfect bike computer for my Dad. He’s an avid cyclist, but doesn’t really care about training load or recovery metrics. He’s going to go out for a ride, perhaps 100KM, perhaps longer (once we did a 100-miler together). But, he’s definitely going to want navigation for that, and a larger display. And this delivers that in an easy-to-use package at a reasonable price. Heck, maybe I’ve sorted out his upcoming birthday present.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

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

If you're shopping for the Garmin Edge Explore 2 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This magnetless Garmin Cadence Sensor attached to your crank arm and transmits cadence over both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart to apps, watches, or bike computers.

This is a set of Garmin magnetless speed and cadence sensors. Both transmits over ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, but the speed sensor also can record rides without a bike computer - perfect for using on a commuter bike.

Garmin RTL515 Varia Radar

The Garmin Varia radar alerts you to cars coming up behind you, well before you see them. It's awesome for quieter roads (country roads/mountains), especially on longer rides. It's less useful for city riding.

The Garmin Varia radar alerts you to cars coming up behind you, well before you see them. It's awesome for quieter roads (country roads/mountains), especially on longer rides. It's less useful for city riding. The RVR315 skips the light.

This magnetless Garmin speed sensor transmits your speed on ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, but more notably, it also has memory so it can save rides even when not paired to a bike computer/watch, then quietly offloads them to your phone later on. Perfect for a commuter bike.

The Edge remote allows you to control functions (like data pages/screens, and laps) wirelessly right from your handlebars/drops. Super handy for mountain biking where taking your hands off the bars might be a bad idea.

Garmin Edge Snap-on Battery

If you need to go *REALLY* long with a Garmin Edge device, this snap-on/under weatherproof battery pack basically gets you double your battery life. It snaps under your existing Edge with an included mount. It can also be used as a standard USB battery back too (for your phone/etc...).

The HRM-DUAL strap transmits not only concurrently on ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, but actually has two Bluetooth channels, making it perfect for pairing to Zwift at the same time you also have it paired to another device/app via Bluetooth.

The HRM-PRO is Garmin's top-end chest strap. It transmits dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, but also transmits Running Dynamics metrics, stores HR data during a swim, and can be used without a watch for other sports. Also, it can transmit XC Skiing Dynamics as well.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

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

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

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

If you're shopping for the Garmin Edge Explore 2 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This magnetless Garmin Cadence Sensor attached to your crank arm and transmits cadence over both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart to apps, watches, or bike computers.

This is a set of Garmin magnetless speed and cadence sensors. Both transmits over ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, but the speed sensor also can record rides without a bike computer - perfect for using on a commuter bike.

Garmin RTL515 Varia Radar

The Garmin Varia radar alerts you to cars coming up behind you, well before you see them. It's awesome for quieter roads (country roads/mountains), especially on longer rides. It's less useful for city riding.

The Garmin Varia radar alerts you to cars coming up behind you, well before you see them. It's awesome for quieter roads (country roads/mountains), especially on longer rides. It's less useful for city riding. The RVR315 skips the light.

This magnetless Garmin speed sensor transmits your speed on ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, but more notably, it also has memory so it can save rides even when not paired to a bike computer/watch, then quietly offloads them to your phone later on. Perfect for a commuter bike.

The Edge remote allows you to control functions (like data pages/screens, and laps) wirelessly right from your handlebars/drops. Super handy for mountain biking where taking your hands off the bars might be a bad idea.

Garmin Edge Snap-on Battery

If you need to go *REALLY* long with a Garmin Edge device, this snap-on/under weatherproof battery pack basically gets you double your battery life. It snaps under your existing Edge with an included mount. It can also be used as a standard USB battery back too (for your phone/etc...).

The HRM-DUAL strap transmits not only concurrently on ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, but actually has two Bluetooth channels, making it perfect for pairing to Zwift at the same time you also have it paired to another device/app via Bluetooth.

The HRM-PRO is Garmin's top-end chest strap. It transmits dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, but also transmits Running Dynamics metrics, stores HR data during a swim, and can be used without a watch for other sports. Also, it can transmit XC Skiing Dynamics as well.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

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

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

141 Comments

  1. Gary Forrow

    So. As someone looking to change my 520, is this a sensible upgrade, or would I be better waiting however long for an 540/840? My 520 has really dire battery life now, hence the replacement.

    Another excellent review though.

    • Paul

      I’m on the same boat, I’m looking forward to purchasing my first bike computer and I’m debating if I should get this or continue waiting for the 540/840.

    • andy

      Same! 520 is on its last leg and have been holding out for a while now.

    • I’d say the Explore 2 is a solid upgrade from a 520, if you don’t care about Strava Live Segments or Di2/Shifting integration. Those would be the two main things in my head that it lacks.

    • Olivier

      Are Trailforks maps included on this one?

    • JD

      Ooh, I hadn’t picked up the lack of Di2/Shifting integration. That could be a deal-breaker for replacing a somewhat-ailing Edge 830.

      Strava Live Segments were cool for a while, but too distracting. Only 3 bike profiles = I can probably work with. Only 4 custom screens = I’d have to adjust, but probably could. New training metrics on-device = don’t need.

      This device seems oddly positioned. Mostly better than the 8×0, but oddly lacking in other areas. Makes me think there’s an 840 or 835 in the near future?

    • goldsquadron

      On Garmin’s website it doesn’t list it as a feature, but it does on the 1040.

    • Paul Bannister

      I had a 530, and upgraded to a v1 Explore. I love it – except the battery range. This Explore V2 appears to have solved that, plus some extras. I’m gonna upgrade and eBay the old unit.
      I don’t think you’d be disappointed. The stats you don’t get won’t bother most of us.

  2. Ben

    Will the Explore 2 connect to Di2 sensors to show gearing and battery status?

    • No, it doesn’t connect to either Di2 or ANT+ Gear Shifting (SRAM/Campy).

    • Stephen Evans

      I’ve waited so long to replace my first generation Edge 1000. It’s falling to bits and the battery now lasts only a couple of hours, but I cannot justify Euro 600 for the new Edge 1040, especially as I don’t need all the training stuff.

      So, the Explore 2 seemed like a Godsend, until you said it will not connect with my Di2!!! WTF??

      On top of that shock is the realisation that opting for the power version of the Explore 2 with a dedicated cable (a ridiculous Euro 50 extra) saves only about Euro 150 over the new 1040.

      Looks like I’ll be keeping my 1000 for a while longer in the hope of a bigger screen version of the 840.

      All very irritating – no wonder I’m gradually drifting away from Garmin and into the Apple-sphere.

  3. Jim

    How’s it compare to the Karoo2? I was looking to replace my old Edge 810 with the K2, but now I may stick with. Garmin. I don’t like the lack of pop-up maps at turns on the K2.

  4. Jan Axel

    Hello Ray,

    First of all I must say I very much enjoy your way of testing any device.

    Lately I ride with the Garmin 1040 and can see the late calculation of gradients and ascent.
    Any clue if the Introducing of this above mention Device include a solving of that major issue?
    My old Edge 520 preforms better on the climbs…

    Best regard from Denmark

    • I haven’t had a chance to find a hill where I can test it here. Failing anything local I’ll be in Paris next weekend for the Tour de France finish, and can take a Velib out to test it. 🙂

  5. StephenB

    Weird decision not to have the battery connectors on the base unit. Missing out on the potential of users wanting to get the power mount post-purchase.

    More importantly many tourers will just want the base unit they can connect to the Garmin battery pack.

    Bad Garmin, naughty Garmin… do better.

  6. Paul in Kirklandq

    Regarding the ebike bit, would it be possible for the bike manufacturers to provide some kind of wireless dongle that attaches..somewhere…to get this support? Or is it a situation where we’ll have to wait and hope the next versions of the ebike systems have this fully integrated?

  7. Martin Richards

    Guess who just bought a 530 when this would be far better suited for them… 🙁

  8. Paul S.

    Wow, Tempe support? That’s new! Hope it finds its way into future Edge models.

  9. John Martin

    Hard to believe that this is produced by the same company that brought us Garmin Varia RCT715 Bike Radar with Camera and Tail Light. The Edge Explore is great. The 715 not so much.

  10. Ken

    Is the lack of the multi-band GNSS chipset a big deal or only useful in edge cases?

    • Honestly, I don’t think it’s that meaningful for most road/gravel cycling. I think for some super windy MTB stuff in tough terrain it might be.

    • Chris

      I’ve commented further down but I see this on mine….

    • Nuno Pinto

      Whilst I know that listening to music and ride a bike is not safe, I live in the Netherlands and music is much better than listening the relentless wind. The Added music control data page is something that I always wanted, just like what I get from my FÉNIX 5+.
      I am disappointed that GARMIN is not planning to add it to 1030+ … 😞 all over me

  11. paul Cromey

    Hi. Great review and information. Can I just check the WiFi situation. Garmin Website specs say Connectivity is “Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®”. Your review suggests there is no WiFi sync. Kind regards. Paul

  12. Richard Moody

    Sounds like just what I need. My old edge 1000 is on it’s last legs and I was hoping that a new explore would come out soon. I have never had a use for all the training metrics but want a cycle computer to stop me from getting lost and to record how far I’ve ridden and that’s it. So I guess the Explore 2 has been designed with me in mind.
    The only question I would have is can I power the unit from a powerbank using a usb-c cable to extend it’s life if needed?

    • Emil

      From the review: “You can always charge it anytime you want using the USB-C port (including mid-ride), but that’s not an ideal thing to do in rainy weather.”

  13. Maciek

    Can I pair remote control?

  14. Steve

    I’m going to be in the market soon, and this will probably jump to the top of the list.

    My Edge 800 still works fine (yeah, it’s old… but it works…) and most of what this doesn’t do that an 830 (840?) would do I probably don’t care about. And honestly, the battery life thing is fine. I don’t do multi-day trips, and certainly not ones I can’t charge during. And I always have my Fenix for backup (my 800 will take a dump if you don’t charge it the night before… the battery works… but not THAT well…)

    Off to the comparison tool…

  15. Michal Sz.

    Am I wrong in thinking, that apart from gps chipset, onboard rom/ram power pins and screen (size) – all Edge computers differ only based on the software?

  16. Chris A

    I have the og Explore and feel it’s the perfect size and love the touchscreen (returned an Edge 530).
    I primarily use it for MTB with Trailforks maps and this looks like a decent upgrade with the 3 profiles, extra battery life and features.

    I am, however, a bit jaded as the Explore was kinda treated as a bastard child in the Edge lineup with unaddressed major bugs in the Remote Control (have to re-pair on every ride), Battery saver mode (frequent long pauses & crashing), and battery life / accurate charge indicator. I still use it often with workarounds (no RC, disable bat saver, etc) which took time to figure out.

    Do you believe Garmin is serious with supporting this version?

  17. GLT

    Having purchased a Synapse last year & an Edge Explore this year all of the SmartSense compatibility goodness will need to admired from afar. Great to see an uptick in the rate of innovation though.

    The powered mount is interesting, especially if the bottom half can be transplanted into their TT mount. The additional USB-to-CAN Bus cable price puts it over my normal impulse buy price.

  18. MatthewQC

    At least in my (albeit insular) social circle of randonneuring, the Power Mount is the biggest product announcement since the first GPS bike computers. It seems weird to me that everyone is tacking the Power Mount review on as an afterthought to the Edge Explore head unit.

    As for the USB-C mojo running out on the Canbus/power supply interface, that’s actually a *really good* design and marketing decision. The reason is that for those of us who use STVZO compliant dynamos (ie the entire randonneur, bike packing, and EU commuting user base), you need some sort of inverter between the AC output of your dynamo and the DC devices like headlights, cell phone chargers, etc. Based on my observation, 99% of us are using either one of Tout Terrain/Cinq/Supernova “The Plug” or the Sinewave Reactor. The Reactor only comes in USB-A, and only in the last year or so did The Plug switch to USB-C. By offering a USB-A adapter, they’re capturing a far larger segment. I imagine Garmin will eventually offer a Canbus to USB-C option as the USB-C inverters become more popular.

    • Oh, to be clear, I totally agree that USB-A makes the most sense for most people. That said, I was more poking that there wasn’t also a USB-C option. Mainly for battery packs, though almost every battery pack these days has USB-C, but some smaller ones may only have a single port.

      Like I noted, I actually think the design is cool, I just wish it was either offered natively in the other formats (Bosche/Shimano), or, just made the cables reasonable ($20) – with the mount at perhaps $99.

      Thanks for being a DCR Supporter!

  19. A Novis

    How configurable is text size?
    One reason I picked a Wahoo over a Garmin 530 is you can get bigger text with fewer fields. With my old eyes, I want to have a main screen with just a few critical values that I can easily read, and other screens with more (smaller OK) data I can read when I’m not dodging cars and potholes. The 530 text was about the same size even with few fields.

    These screens have lots of cool data, and I’m OK if I have to pull over and take out my readers. But on the move I need the Big Print edition. And adjustable alert volume would be nice (as the ears don’t work so good, either).

    • Kevin

      I’ve been using bifocal sunglasses that really work well for bicycling. Low cost ones are available on Amazon or AliExpress, or I’m sure Zenni can make prescription ones for a reasonable price. I can again see my computer really well without having giant text on it, and they don’t interfere with my forward vision at all.

    • Bob

      I started with progressive glasses (similar to bifocal) and then transitioned to multifocal contact lenses. The best thing I have done. No more looking for glasses.

  20. Sean K.

    This is a real solid piece of kit. They’ve put some great features for a variety of users into this device for a good price. I just got my Dad a new bike and this would be a great addition for him too!

  21. Chris

    Hi, am I missing something? Mine has the option for multi band GNSS.
    One other thing, I hate the white colour, is the unit the same size as the original so I can get a silicon wrap?
    Great review, thanks!

    • Hello!

      Close, but not quite. 😉 It says ‘Multi-GNSS’ (not Multi-band), which means it switches between GPS/Galileo/GLONASS and I think this unit also supports Beidou too. Whereas Multi-Band (in Garmin lingo, everyone else calls it Dual Frequency) has two frequencies, or basically two concurrent connections.

      As for the white, I agree. It’s always looked ugly/cheap to me in the past. Really wish they’d do something else.

  22. Maciek

    Ray,
    Is there an automatic brightness function ?
    AFAIK First Edge didn’t have it. 530/830 had.

  23. this is awesome I personally use it on a bicycle. the navigator system is up to date you must try it when you use the cycle for walking.

  24. cmv

    Hi Ray, maybe you’d like your Bosch equipped e-bike to be a bit like a Porsche, but it’s just Bosch (without the “e”) 🙂

  25. Benedikt

    Is the 1040 also compatible to Bosch eBikes?
    If so, what data is supported? Bosch did lock I. A long time, even when their display was able to connect to their own app.

    • Paul S.

      I have a Specialized Turbo Levo with a Bosch motor, and Specialized seems to include the transmitter Ray was talking about, because my Edge 830 pairs with the bike. The motor has a built in power meter (it’s supposed to be “me” power, not including the power that the motor is putting out) and a speed/cadence sensor. The 830 can show battery level and assist mode (the bike has 3 modes, the Edge thinks there should be 5, so it uses 1,3,5). It also shows UI to control the assist level, but it doesn’t actually work (the buttons on the handlebar are enough, anyway). In addition, of course, you get speed/cadence and power on the 830. After a ride, in Garmin Connect there’s a section “eBike Performance” which shows graphs of battery level and mode as a function of time during the ride. There’s also an “Assist Level” graph, but for me that’s always 0%, so whatever it’s looking for isn’t being recorded in the FIT file.

    • Benedikt

      Thanks. I was on and off about buying an eMTB and the only real info that you get things like the power you pedal yourself were that Shimano does it all. (And it should be possible to use it without a display but only the transmitter).
      Reading that in theory Bosjch also sends all this data opens up the market.

    • Bob

      Are you sure your Turbo Levo does not have a motor from “Brose”

    • Paul S.

      Actually I’m not sure where it comes from now. I thought I saw something about Bosch somewhere, but there are no stickers on the bike that say anything, and the spec sheet says that the motor is a Specialized motor. Whether they have someone else build them or they build them themselves I have no idea. So forget what I said. It’s true enough about the motor/electronics that’s inside the bike, but it may not be a Bosch. I looked at a lot of brands before I finally pulled the trigger, so I may have confused Specialized with one of the other brands. The LBS that I use has a policy of not servicing any e-bikes that they don’t sell, and they a few months ago were acquired?/partnered with? Specialized, so that’s all they sell now. So the choice was basically made for me, but I’m happy with the Turbo Levo anyway.

  26. Koen Beijens

    this unit seems interesting, want something bigger than my 830 but think the 1040 is too much.
    Just unclear which power metrics can be displayed.
    Read somewhere that it apparently can’t display 3s or 10s pwr and neither NP? And what about lap power avg (true and NP)?
    Can you confirm? As I cannot find this from the user manual.

    • Andrew Linquist

      Ray is using 3s power at 12:57 point of his video review.

    • Powe data fields on the Edge Explore 2 are:

      Power
      Avg Power
      3s Power
      Lap Power
      max Power
      Kilojoules
      Power Zone

      So, no NP on device, but it will show NP afterwards on Garmin Connect (you can see that here in a ride file of mine: link to connect.garmin.com

      This basically follows what Garmin does on the ‘advanced’ power cycling dynamics metrics, and what they did on the Edge 130 too back in the day.

    • Koen Beijens

      thanks Ray!
      Good to hear that lap-pwr is still available; this one is def. up there on my must-have list.
      Now I only have to re-evaluate how important missing the NP would be (although I could still trace this one on my watch I guess)

      Additional question, any clue on the processing speed/capabilities of this unit compared to the 830?
      More specifically: for navigation, I always use the MTB-view (“birds eye view”) unfortunately my 830 is blanking out VERY often in this mode (like once every 5-10 sec’s); I am somewhat able to deal with this annoyance but this is another major reason to switch to something more capable
      Did you check this mode on the explore-2?

  27. Jesse S

    Anyone know if this has the Trail Forks features like Fork Sight built in like the Edge 530?

  28. RichCNJ

    I have an old Edge 520 and am using a RTL510 bike radar (that I love). The one challenge I have is that the audible alerts when a car is approaching are practically non-existent. My impression is that some of the newer Edge units have a louder alert tone. Can you comment on how radar alerts are made on the Explore 2?

    • Kevin

      The Varia RTL515 alerts on my 520-Plus aren’t loud enough either. The Varia alerts from with Ride with GPS or the Varia app (either running on my Android cell phone, which is mounted on my handlebar can be very loud with the volume on the phone set to high. But it does require bluetooth, which the RTL510 doesn’t have.

  29. Gunnar

    As you mention in the review, I use my garmin fenix 6 for all my activities that I upload to Garmin Connect (and then off to Strava). My edge 1030 is simply used for navigation and seeing metrics while riding.

    I had the original edge explore and found the unit I had to be a bit buggy and I wasn’t happy with the battery life. I used the ANT+ Connect IQ data screen for getting power meter data to the unit.

    When my 1030 dies, the edge explore 2 will most likely be my next computer. Love the fact that it now handles power meter data and how about the tempe sensor addition? Finally!

  30. Piotr

    Is there an build in temperature sensor? And how about auto power off feature (mine Edge explore likes to run until it drain the battery when I forgot to switchit off 🙁 )

    • Yes, there’s a built-in temp sensor (and you can select the data field on the unit, as well as see the data afterward).

      This seems to automatically shut off on me, if I leave it alone.

  31. usr

    Separate physical units for with the pins/without the pins? Garmin keeps pulling something entirely unexpected (and inexplicable) from thin air. Almost seems as if they were trying to increase sales to detain people who have publicly pledged to buy every edge unit…

    Best explanation I can come up with is that they are planning/expecting some ebike brands to come with integrated Garmin power mounts, and then if they included the pins in every unit they would have to choose between either making their lowest margin unit higher margin or letting a somewhat captive audience get away without paying as much as many of them might be willing to. Perhaps not so inexplicable at all!

    (Doesn’t explain the pricing for the standalone mount/cables though, those could become a considerable brand loyalty thing if they were offered cheap enough to become regular features in bikepacking setups)

    • Yeah, I simply don’t understand the logic there – on so many levels. I suppose the hope (probably successfully) is that they’ll upsell you upfront. So as you said, they’re trying to get you to buy up-front.

      Which would be fine, except for the fact that the same-priced Edge 530 has the pins too. Certainly, I completely expect third party power pin mounts. I’d almost guarantee you we’ll see Cannondale first, given the already tight relationship there for the Smart Sense system, and given the stock Garmin power mount comes with the Cannondale cable.

    • usr

      Third party pin mounts would be a very nice outcome, I was close to mentioning that hope myself. Would have been possible ever since the white 1030 introduced the pins back in 2017, and in those days of seemingly insatiable GPS chips demand for a pinned holder would have been much bigger. Nobody did it in those almost five years though, the closest thing I can think of are some Garmin Charge compatible items in the seemingly infinite kanji maze of rec-mounts.com. But no connectors, unfortunately. Perhaps the super-expensive Garmin offerings will get someone the right idea? (super-expensive, as in list price of a simple holder with a USB cable is higher than the list price of the wildly overpriced battery pack – that doesn’t come without an USB cable either iirc)

    • GLT

      If this is their first sports offering with CAN Bus the high price point could just be them trying to recover the development costs early. I would imagine every piece in the SmartSense universe is getting evaluated for effectiveness separately from the other Edge & Varia products.

      The other major possibility is eBike buyers aren’t usually price sensitive and they are the presumptive buyers.

  32. Jeff Biscuits

    I have two questions about this, both relating to frustrations that caused me to finally sell my original Explore recently.

    1. My biggest problem was getting routes from RideWithGPS to the device (without using a laptop and a wire… I was doing that with an eTrex Legend 20 years ago and I’d hope we’ve moved on by now). Specifically, I believe Garmin Connect stopped syncing my routes from RWGPS, and the Connect app on my iPhone never reliably hooked up to the Explore. (An additional frustration was that I couldn’t find a way to pin a route from within the RWGPS iPhone app, but I can’t really blame Garmin for that). Am I missing something, and does this become seamless with the new Explore 2? (At least until Garmin figure out how to break it again.)

    2. I always found that if I went off route then the recalculation would always tell me to U-turn and keep doing so until I was maybe a mile or two away from the course, even if I kept on explicitly telling it to recalculate. Problem is, normally I’d go off course intentionally, eg to avoid a dangerous bit of road, so while I saw the sense in it suggesting a U-turn in the first instance, the lack of an option that effectively meant “look, I’m off route intentionally, don’t just ask me for the eleventh time to turn around” was quite irritating. Any improvement there?

    Thanks

    • Hello.

      1) So RideWithGPS does use the Garmin Connect API, and syncs entirely wireless. Generally speaking, I find that pretty seamless. Perhaps once a year or two, it’ll break for one of my connected apps (just my account), and I find that when that happens (e.g. to Strava, or Training Peaks, or Komoot or whomever), if you just re-authenticate, it’s good to go again. I’m not sure who to blame here, or why it happens. I suppose it’s not like other authenticated platform API bits that randomly require re-validation every year or two.

      2) This seems to largely just tell me to keep going and merges up ahead. I’m only getting U-turns, when the going-forward option isn’t ideal/desirable (for example if I cross a river or something, then obviously that’s unlikely to end well longterm). I suspect that most of this unit is basically just a mini-Edge 1040 under the covers, since that’s the same UI and code-base it’s using.

    • Jeff Biscuits

      Thanks 👍

  33. Nick Payne

    If it’s the case that that this unit can’t interface with electronic gearing, that seems a remarkably retrograde step. Particularly as the manual for it states, on p.28 (link to www8.garmin.com), that if you have an ebike you can view battery and shifting information.

    • Both are correct. For an eBike, that’s via the eBike ANT+ transmission information (or Shimano Steps).

      Whereas, for ANT+ Gear Shifting (SRAM/Campy) and Di2 (private-ANT), those are different device profiles.

      (And just in case someone is doubting me, I literally go through the menu in the video and show you what’s actually available.)

  34. Paul

    Hi

    You mention towards the end the review that this unit could send data to a garmin watch. Would this work with the forerunner 255? I’m not sure if that counts as a higher-end forerunner or not, but it would be a brilliant piece of integration if it did.

    Thanks, a great review as always!

    • Yup, it does. It’ll transmit your ride seamlessly. In fact, for yesterday’s ride I didn’t ride with the FR255, but it shows all my ride data from it correctly.

    • Paul

      Brilliant! I think the combination of this and the forerunner 255 will be perfect for me, although I might hang on until the autumn sales and see if they’re included then. Cheers!

  35. Rob

    Can i record the route as one course when just riding the bike on a random course and tell the unit at a certain point to plan a route home? Or will this be stored as separate entries?

    • Rob

      I’m not making sense (I think): I just want to start riding my bike and when I want to go home let it calculate a way to get home and record all of it. Will this be seen as 1 “activity” or 2?

  36. Sean Owens

    I’m not getting the power mount. If I want to charge it via a power bank mid-ride, I’m taking it I would need to buy the power mount and then on top of that buy an extra cable? I don’t get why I would pay all that extra when I can just plug in a power bank via USB-C?

    • GLT

      They moved the USB port to the chin on the latest model, so it is probably just a question of whether having the cable there is irritating & if you have somewhere to hang the power bank.

  37. Steve

    Thanks for yet another excellent review! I’ve been planning to buy an Edge 830, but there seem to be too many complaints about elevation inaccuracies (e.g. multiple threads of the official Garmin forum). Some blame it on firmware updates, others claim it’s because of the low battery consumption + less precision of the Sony GPS chipsets.
    Does the Explore 2 use Sony chipsets? If I understand correctly, it is not multi-band GNSS, but would that make it even less accurate than the Edge 830? I have never really had elevation measurement issues with either the Edge 810 or the 820, but those did not use the energy-efficient Sony chipsets.

    • Paul S.

      Altitude has nothing to do with GPS on an 830 because it has a barometric altimeter. The Explore 2 does, too. Barometric pressure is an imperfect proxy for altitude, but it works much better than GPS altitude, and is quite good if you calibrate it before every ride. I’ve been using an 830 for 3 years now, and the altitude is good enough; it’s usually within 30 ft or so of the actual altitude. It doesn’t really matter, though, because whatever my 830 says the altitude is doesn’t change reality. Most people who have problems with barometric altimeters aren’t calibrating them.

    • Steve

      I know, but my old Edge 810 and 820 devices (both of which also had barometric altimeters) did not suffer from this, while there are dozens of forums (both on the Garmin site & here among the comments under the 830 review) complaining about elevation inaccuracies with the x30 series.
      Basically, I’d like to know whether the Explore 2 uses a similar chipset, as many consider the switch to the Sony chipsets a possible reason for innacuracies.

    • Paul S.

      Again, the GPS chipset has nothing to do with altitude. It’s whatever Garmin is using to measure atmospheric pressure that matters. The 830 for me has probably been the best Edge I’ve used (705, 800, 1000) for altitude, but that’s not saying that much. It has its quirks: it frequently slips calibration (I use POI calibration) right away, it records something different than what it displays for altitude (but not by much). Still, it’s usually close to the right altitude, gain and loss are about the same on a loop and end and beginning (the same point) are about the same altitude. (But not always.) People on the forums are there to complain, so you have to take what you find there with a large grain of salt. People think these things work by magic and they should be exactly correct all the time, and that’s just not possible.

    • Steve

      I don’t know, maybe the barometric altimeter is part of the chipset? No idea, but the statistical prevalence of the complaints about the x30 series goes beyond the overrepresentation of negative experiences on forums. I don’t want to derail this discussion, but simply search for Edge 830 elevation inaccuracies on the Garmin forum. People have had their devices replaces by Garmin only for the elevation issues to occur again and again. And it could be hundreds of feet, not just the acceptable margins of error.
      I guess it might be too early to tell is the Explore 2 suffers from the same issues, so I’ll wait a bit. Maybe even an Edge 840 comes out to further complicate my choices 🙂

    • Paul S.

      My own personal standard is to never buy a new Garmin device until at least six months after it comes out, unless there’s a compelling reason (in the case of the 830 which I bought at release, it was ClimbPro). Garmin has got much better over the years, but reading the comments in Ray’s 1040 review makes me happy there was nothing compelling for me there. The 1040 (or even better, the 840) goes into the slot of “what I’m going to get if my 830 dies”, but since the 830 is only 3+ years old and is working well, that shouldn’t happen soon. (The Explore 2 only has 3 profiles, and I use 5, and it doesn’t have structured workouts for the trainer, so it’s not an option.)

    • Steve

      Agreed, it’s not fun being a beta tester immediately after release 😉 I don’t really use the training features, but need the map panning features and an accurate altimeter (I’m more a mountain biker, though also ride road).
      Just realized the Explore 2 is considerably larger than the Edge 830, so that could be an issue on my MTB handlebar.

    • Yeah, the GPS has nothing to do with the barometric altimeter here.

      The main reason there are typically barometric altimeter issues is either cleanliness (basically, people get dirt in the altimeter hole, such as mountain biking, or road gunk on wet days), or, in some cases just defective altimeters. On the watch side, this happens more often, and most of the time it can be just solved by putting the watch in a bowl of warm soapy water for a short period, before rinsing it off (or, just taking a shower).

      The same is actually true for the bike computer too.

      That said, I didn’t see any issues with the Edge 1040 in terms of altimeter testing, including Mont Ventoux and few other climbs (or just rollers). However, I don’t know if the same exact barometric altimeter is in the Edge Explore 2 compared to the Edge 1040.

    • Steve

      Thanks, this is very helpful! Do you know if the Explore 2 (and the Edge 1040) have a different altimeter (as well as different GPS chipset) from the x30 series?

      Over at the Garmin forum there are people who have had their 830 replaced under warranty 5 times (!) by the manufacturer and the issue just occurred again and again. See this thread, for example:
      link to forums.garmin.com

      Of course, these could be outliers statistically speaking, but if the Explore 2 has an updated/different altimeter (& chipset), I’d rather spring for it than the 830.

    • The Edge 1040 has a different GPS chipset than all past Edge units (new multiband one). The Edge Explore 2 I believe uses the previous GPS chipset. But again, altimeter data here comes from the altimeter, which in turn is often based on the location of the altimeter holes.

      As a general rule of thumb, when I hear that someone of any product has replaced something 5, 6, 8, 10 times, and almost nobody else has, I usually find that correlates incredibly strongly with something specific to that person’s environment or usage. I’m not saying it’s their fault (though, sometimes it is), I’m just saying that whatever it is, it’s usually that global. I’m on the same Edge 830 I’ve had since shortly after launch, despite beating the crap out of it, as it comes along most rides as a secondary unit.

      On the whole, I just haven’t really heard any meaningful/trend issues with barometric altimeters on any of the Edge x30 units over the past few years, aside from complaints on the slowness of gradient response. Just my two cents…

    • Steve

      Not sure, really. Those guys on the Garmin forum were engaging in various sorts of speculations (broken barometer, clogged holes, blaming even firmware updates and the Sony chipset), but I’m glad to hear that yours hasn’t had issues, as I trust your opinion more than random forum complaints.
      I’ve just checked again the complaints about elevation inaccuracies here on your site too (see comments #727-729, #859-860 #866-878, Paul S kindly replied to those, as I see now), so I hope those were just exceptional warranty issues (which seem to have been solved).

      In any case, to stay on topic, is there any reason in your view, Ray, to go for the Explore 2 instead of the Edge 830, given that they cost roughly the same now? My priorities are small footprint, low weight, long battery life, and long-term reliability. As I have mentioned, I don’t really use the training features that much, but put a high prize on reliable measurement values, including altitude and gradient (ironically, my ancient 810, which refuses to die, has been the most accurate in terms of gradient so far, my 820 also lagged, though some ConnectIQ apps were better on that device)

    • Paul S.

      Personally, even though my 830 has served me very well, I’d be reluctant to recommend a 3 year old device given that the 1040 and the Explore 2 have come out and the 840/540 (or whatever they’re going to call them) are likely to show up sometime. (Of course, I’d personally still apply my 6 month rule.). But since you mentioned MTB, remember that the 830 comes with Trailforks maps, and it’s not clear that the Explore 2 does. If you do a lot of single track (I don’t, only occasionally ride single track when it’s necessary), I’d make sure you have Trailforks. As for altitude, I’ve already told you that altitude works OK for me, and grade definitely lags. But since I can’t do anything about either grade or altitude, and they are what they are no matter what a device says, being off on either doesn’t bother me.

  38. Felkerino

    Biggest thing here for current Edge owners: Tempe sensor support (as noted above in the comments). Any time my 1040 is in direct sunlight it registers well above actual temperatures, compared to the Tempe reading from under a tube to my Fenix 6. Ray any comment from Garmin on whether this will be included in future Edge lineup updates? And — did they include this because the Explore doesn’t have an internal temperature sensor?

    • I’ll check, I suspect that it’ll come in the Q3 Feature Firmware update, since that’s when the Edge 1040 is getting the music control feature that debuted on the Edge Explore 2.

  39. Zach

    Assuming the Varia Vision is not in the supported sensors?

  40. David T

    One useful thing fir the pins is that it can be charged if/when the usb port fails.
    I’m currently doing this for wife’s 1030, so am keen to read your full review of the power mount, and pleased to read that 3rd parties may also sell something.

    My diy bodge is fine for use at home, but needs some refinement to use on a trip

    DCR, do you know if the 2 non power pins can be used to transfer data, Garmin support were adamant that they were not, but is is odd to me that they have one model without pins, and the other with the same 4/5 pins as other devices?
    Thanks again for a great review, the explore 2 seems like a good update for my hand me down 800.

  41. Paul

    Would be a perfect replacement for my aged Edge 1000, but without DI2 support it’s a showstopper. Also, what is meant with:
    “Edge 1040 has structured/downloadable workout support, Edge Explore 2 does not”

    Isn’t it possible to connect it via USB cable and down/upload any FIT-files?

    • Structured workouts are where you’ve downloaded a workout to the unit with certain steps – such as an interval workout or the like. It doesn’t support that.

      It’ll of course always save any workout you do on the unit for transmission to Garmin Connect (or via cable). But that line item is saying you can’t do a predefined workout with various steps automatically.

  42. Oregon

    Hi all, can anyone help me understand if the Edge 2 has some sort of compass? I’ll probably get one to replace an old Oregon, which does have a compass, and it’s a very helpful feature when mtbiking and making sense of intersections while sopped or moving very slow. I know the 1030 plus has an “electronic” compass, but comparing the 2 I cannot make sense of the specs listed, for sure the 1030 plus lists “magnetometer” and the Edge Explore 2 does not, but I do not understand if that refers to the compass or not.
    Cheers

    • It has a compass, but it’s not magnetic. So it requires forward movement and uses GPS (thus is electronic). But yes, you can add a compass page (full sized/full page).

    • Oregon

      Hi DC thanks for the reply.

      In your opinion, requiring forward movement to work, does the electronic compass on the Explore 2 have a big impact when using the unit for mtbking, where often we find ourselves stopped or at walking speed at trail intersections? cheers

  43. mcsound

    Hey, man. No single word about actual tested battery life! Is it same bad as first generation? I bought that piece of crap (based on your positive review btw) and got only 4 hours of work in navigation mode. Investigated the issue over internet and it was a common problem. So I’ve just sent it back to the shop. And I remember you ignored to mention that or revise your positive review after my comment regarding that common issue. That puts in doubt your honesty.

    • As a general rule of thumb, I try and ignore comments from assholes. Yours seems to fit that description. I don’t have any record of you writing a comment on my previous Edge Explore post, unless you’re just changing user names – which sounds like a typical troll thing to do. The vast majority of battery life comments on the previous Edge Explore, are related to folks trying to run at near full backlight brightness, which, like any electronic device will burn battery faster.

      Nonetheless, there are no issues with battery life here that I’ve seen here. You can see in full navigation + sensors + phone pairing mode, with backlight on this sunset ride, it achieves an estimated 17hrs of battery life.

    • mcsound

      I called you a man, you called me troll and asshole. That is pretty much telling about you.

      And more than that now it’s clear you are a liar.
      If anybody dig into 400+ comments of the 1st gen Explore review they can find a lot of comments (which you ignored) stating that max achieved battery life was 7 hours against advertised 12 hours and average 3-5 hours under load. ‘Max achieved’ means for any clever human that it was used at minimum, i.e. with minimum use of screen and probably even without navigation. That’s a clear problem. That should be mentioned in any honest (not paid) review. You didn’t. Lots of people trusted you and bought that crap.

      (Attached here only one screenshot of available comments on that issue.)

      Regarding “estimated 17 hours” based on 1.5 hours evening ride. Estimated is estimated. It’s not realtime real life prooved figure. Every clever human knows that battery discharge is not linear. Whatsmore, you stated in review that it should keep for 26 to 34 hours or even more. But even “estimated” 17 hours is no way near that.
      And you say I’m an asshole?

    • “Regarding “estimated 17 hours” based on 1.5 hours evening ride. Estimated is estimated. It’s not realtime real life prooved figure. Every clever human knows that battery discharge is not linear. Whatsmore, you stated in review that it should keep for 26 to 34 hours or even more.”

      Reading comprehension is clearly a problem here. 17 hours is based on how the unit actually records the data and updates each time the battery level changes. Despite this concept apparently being new to you, this isn’t new – and nobody here (except you) disagrees with how this works. In general, longer activities are better because you get more data points, but you can see plenty of data points here to see the trend. Battery discharge rate is indeed linear when all other things are equal, up until the last little bit of battery. Again, this is well established over many years. Estimated simply means we take the average burn rate over the course of that timeframe and determine potential hours. By including the graph, you can use your brain and see if there are points of substantial difference to be aware of.

      As for reading, again, 24-36 hours is in battery saver mode, not the regular mode I’m in. The regular mode battery claim is 16 hours. Again, reading is your friend here.

      The challenge with taking other people’s battery burn rates is that frankly, I don’t know what they’ve done. I don’t know what settings they’ve used (backlight being a biggie), or other things they’re doing. Did they sit on the navigation page the entire time with phone live tracking, Varia Radar, and more? I don’t disagree some are getting less than the stated 12 hours, but anyone getting 3 hours either has a defective unit, or non-ideal settings.

      So yes, in summary, you’re an asshole. Mainly because your tone is that of an asshole. Come here with a question and not being an asshole, and I’ll happily answer it. Come here as an asshole, being technically incorrect in virtually every line of your post, and I’m going to call you out.

    • mcsound

      “Battery discharge rate is indeed linear when all other things are equal, up until the last little bit of battery.”
      Indeed, it is linear on laboratory stand during battery runtime test with steady load. But real life load fluctuates, so estimates doesn’t work here.
      This is just not useful info for readers of your review, taking into consideration battery issues of previous generation. If you avoid this topic, one can make assumption that something can be wrong here.
      Yep, this is not you having issues with writing honest reviews, these are the stupid users who use their devices in wrong way. Sure thing.
      And once more, go look at yourself in the mirror next time you want to call somebody asshole with bad tone.

    • Dude, it’s real world usage with real world data points. That’s what the graph shows.

  44. Ken Alvey

    Hi, really great in depth review, appreciated that. My comment is that I never see in any reviews for the auto routing option how it handles a blocked route (eg off road trails with barriers across for engineering works, or massive tree fallen over etc) I have been several miles down a track and then hit the blockage and all the auto routing does is to try and send you back down the same route. Does this have an option to mark a path/road as blocked and to re-route you around it at all?

    • There isn’t any method that I know of to mark a route section as ‘broke’.

      In terms of how Garmin handles it, basically, you’ll have to simply start riding in a different direction and wait for it to trigger the recall (should be within 50 meters or so), and then hope that either it offers you multiple choices, or, just picks another viable option.

  45. Rich Jacobson

    I’m debating between the Edge Explore 2 and Wahoo ROAM. I have the old Wahoo ELEMNT, and I love how easy it is to sync routes from Ride withGPS. Will the Edge Explore do this as simply as the wahoo? Without WiFi or pLugging in to a computer. Going through Garmin Connect to load routes is a pain – or it was when I had a Garmin Edge 710 (?) around 7 years ago…

    • JD

      Once you connect ridewithgps and Garmin, then any time you “pin” a course in ridewithgps, it comes over to the Garmin (if it’s on and connected, I think to the phone but maybe it’s wifi; it works and it’s automatic, so I’m not sure)

  46. Krisztian Feher

    Thanks for the tons of informations… May i ask how i can add custom startup message? There is no startup.txt file in the Garmin folder.
    Many thanks!

  47. Andrew Brown

    Does this include trailforks or no?

  48. David Harrington

    Another great review. I bought mine as an upgrade from an 800. I’ve toyed with upgrading for many years simply because of the difficulty of finding a location and the fact that the 800 was good enough. It was really bought as a companion to my Vivoactive 4 Am loving ClimbPro and the ability to create a round trip route which has helped me find some great routes which I probably wouldn’t have found on my own without a lot of extra time.

  49. Marcelo Mazzeo

    Hi Ray,

    The Explore 2 really have Physio TrueUp integration ?
    I use with my Fenix 6x Pro and try to activate TrueUp, but I don´t find in any place (connect App, Web or Device) a TrueUp “switch”, and my activities remains completelly separated.

    By the way, excelent reviews, as usual.

  50. Gary Freed

    Hi Ray, great review. Thanks for doing such a thoughtful job at reviewing for us.

    Considering upgrading from my edge 520. The 1040 is too big and it’s $599. One thing on the 520 that drives me wild is the Bluetooth phone connection. It disconnects all the time. You mentioned that on the 1040 it’s better. If I missed it in your review apologies but does the explore2 have this as well?

    Best,
    Gary

    • Yeah, the Edge Explore 2 uses the same 1040 singular Bluetooth connection to avoid the dumster fire that is the older Garmin Edge dual-Bluetooth connections issues.

  51. Peter Cottrell

    I have been attempting to load courses from Basecamp into my new Explore 2. Basecamp connects but with an error. The only way I have been able to load courses from Basecamp is via a GPX file that contains only one track uploaded into Garmin Connect, saved, and synced. So loading courses for a multi-day tour is extraordinarily tedious. This process is very easy with my 530 (drag and drop in basecamp). Are there better options. Connect is really terrible software.

    • Out of curiosity, why are you using Basecamp? Not judging per se, but it’s a pretty old piece of software that’s kinda run its course.

      in any case, for just loading GPX files, you actually don’t need to go via Garmin Connect. You can simply place them in the ‘Courses’ folder (or, the NewFiles folder), and it’ll consume them. Drag and drop.

    • Peter Cottrell

      Thank you for responding. I moved to Basecamp when Mapsource was no longer supported. I have 100s of tracks, routes, and waypoints stored in its file system. These can easily dragged and dropped into an attached device and easily shared via a export to gpx format. I also have many map files which I have purchased over the years which are all compatible and still relevant. Changing to a new system would require me to spend time learning a new skill which would take me off my bikes. Of course, I will if necessary and the new software works well. Unfortunately, Garmin Connect does not work well. There is no way to invert a route, export to GPX, or use existing waypoints and importing existing routes is extraordinarily painful. After hours in the phone with Garmin Support and plenty of workaround attempts, I have yet to find a way to bypass Garmin Connect when attempting to add a course to the new Edge Explore 2. So, I am open to suggestions. Just keep in mind that all my current data is residing in Basecamp.

    • Peter C.

      No luck so far with that workaround but I will keep trying. If not successfull I return the Explore 2.

    • Peter Cottrell

      With your and other’s encouragement I made another attempt at loading courses by dropping a gpx file with the course into the “newfiles” folder. One of the courses became corrupted probably because it was pieced together from disparate tracks. All the other courses were successfully loaded. I may keep the Explore 2 afterall. Now for a road test. Thank you again for responding.

    • Nice, good to hear! Yeah, NewFiles is basically the ingestion engine. Anything dumped in their gets processed by the unit and converted. In this case, the GPX file I believe actually gets converted to a .FIT course file (which should show up in the courses folder by the same name).

      Whereas if you have .FIT course file, you can dump it straight into Courses, if I remember all the rules correctly. If you have a GPX file that’s failing on unit-ingest, trying to import it into Garmin Connect (online) might work, as it seems to be a bit more lax. Failing that, importing it into Komoot or Strava, and then letting it push back over might work, as maybe their algorithms will catch/address the issue.

      Cheers!

  52. koeroeur

    Unfortunately still the sam eplastic lips on the back that WILL eventually break… And that Garmin refuses to repair.

    • Paul Bannister

      Well, the mounting lips haven’t broken on mine yet. In fact, the supplied mount is plastic too, and I’ve never had one of those fail.
      Something to consider maybe, you pay your money and make your choice.

    • Yeah, I’d agree. I’ve never once broken the mountain tabs. For the most part, save a major crash, the only time I’ve heard of mountain tabs break is actually on 3rd party metal mounts where the mount interface isn’t quite perfect (and usually a bit too tight).

  53. Fred

    Hello,
    thank you very much for your great work.
    I must once again take up the subject of WIFI:
    On the German Garmin page it still says under Technical Details: WIFI. See link: link to garmin.com
    At the store where I bought the Edge 2, WIFI was also mentioned. I previously had a 530er. I have replaced only because I was missing a touch. WIFI is an absolute must for me, because I want to use the device without a cell phone. Can it be that a WLAN module is installed and possibly the function via new firmware / software still comes? I have paralle also written to the German Garmin support and still waiting for an answer. Should no WLAN be there, I have to send the device back. Battery is 1A by the way
    Fred

    • I wouldn’t expect there to be that in there. I mean, it’s plausible, but I don’t think it’s going to be enabled since they don’t have the declarations on the back (FCC/CE). I don’t think there’s ever been a case in Garmin’s history where they’ve secretly enabled hardware later down the road – especially when the hardware isn’t declared.

    • Fred

      Hello,
      I have now the official answer from the German Garmin support: The Edge Explore 2 has no WIFI.

      Sad. I will send my unit back. I am used to this feature and I don´t wanna step back with a new device. Greetings

  54. Dennis

    Hello Ray, Thank you for again a great review! With the arrival of the 1040, the price of the 1030 plus is dropping to reasonable level to compare it to the explore 2. Do you think it is worth spending extra on the 1030 plus, as it was the previous high end unit with all the extra features?

  55. Bernard

    Hi Ray, or anyone else,
    Can you explain more about the guest mode?
    My wife and I both ride bikes. Sometimes together, but also alone or with friends. We don’t need 2 cycling computers. So can I buy it and set it up the way I want t0, and then just simply “lend” it out to my wife using a pin code? Can she after using the code pair it up with here Garmin Connect app on here phone and load in a course. Also uploading the data after finishing the ride? So basically use the device as a stand along device after going into guest mode, without me worrying here rides and up being uploaded into my Strava account?

    If so I’ll buy one immediately. Don’t care about all the metrics. Navigation is all I want.

    Ps we both also have a Garmin watch. So that’s my wife also uses the Connect app.

  56. Michael

    Great review, just got it delivered. Super weird but it looks like there is no night mode for the map at all? And I’ve heard 1040 also doesn’t have it. Would you be able to check that on your units? Very disappointing, hurts my eyes at night even on the lowest brightness.

    • It’s there on both units. In the case of the Edge 1040 it uses the ambient light sensor, whereas the Edge Explore uses the specified sunset time for your GPS coordinates.

      You can double-check that you’ve got it set for auto, via Settings/System > Display > Color Mode, which should be set for ‘Auto’. If it’s set for Day it’ll be daytime, and Night will be the dark/night background.

    • Michael

      I know it sounds good in theory but it simply doesn’t work! If you have either Explore 2 or 1040 handy give it a try, the menu changes to dark but not the map…

    • Huh, weird. I somehow missed the specifics of the map page/portion in your comment.

      Indeed, it doesn’t seem to toggle that manually either (just tried on the Edge 1040). Also tried a few other map modes. I’ll give a poke and see what’s up.

    • Michael

      Fingers crossed someone just forgot to add it in 😉 If you will have any inside information around they plans to fix it or so let us know! Would be a shame to not have it, was working like a treat on my old 520 Plus.

  57. Prasildas

    Really Liked your detailed review and usages.

    How does this compare with the Wahoo Bolt V2. Do you think explore 2 can get Strava Live segments using software updates?
    My use-case would mostly be road cycling checking maps and using speed/cadence and Heart sensors.– can any one suggest Explore 2 over Bolt V2