Garmin Edge 500: The Cycler's GPS Computer

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For Overachieving Cyclists

Every edition in the Garmin Edge series is designed for cyclists whether they’re riding road bikes, beach cruisers with banana seats or mountain bikes. These units are specifically made for bikers to easily see all the information they want their unit to display from its mount on the handle bars somewhere. In case you were wondering, the Edge series evolved with the following model numbers: 205, 305, 605, 705, 500, and the 800, the last offering to appear in the series which we reviewed for you here, too.

Design (5 out of 5)

Garmin Edge 500

Garmin GPS training models have to be lightweight, compact and durable; the Garmin Edge 500 is no exception. It is sleek so it won’t impede your bikes profile on race day. Team Garmin is relatively well-known on the cycling circuit and those riders wanted a smaller unit which resulted in the creation of the Edge 500. The quarter turn mounting system means you don’t have to worry about it popping off when you hit a pothole which was sometimes the case in older models. The display is big enough to read despite the small size.

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Features (4 out of 5)

Bundling packages are the way to go, get the heart rate monitor and mounting features for sure since they are necessary to get the optimum performance out of this unit anyway. The onboard ANT+ wireless antenna allows you to link to power meters, the heart rate monitor, and other performance measuring accessories without any wires. The satellite acquisition via the chip set is faster than previous Edge models. Compatibility with Garmin Training Center hooks you up with all the aspects of your rides and performance you want to track. Auto Pause will start and stop the timer for when you have to stop at a light or a sign. If you want paralysis by analysis the features and data you can track with this thing, especially back at your computer retracing routes and downloading new ones, this might be the model number for you. You may want to check out the Garmin Forerunner 405CX if you’re a serious runner too, because these Edge series units really aren’t useful for running.

User Interface (4 out of 5)

The menus, programs, and operations are all rather intuitive, and many functions are accessed or activated using side buttons (some folks would rather have top-side buttons or the ease of the touchscreen which is available in the Edge 800).

Performance (4 out of 5)

The mapping functionality on the Garmin Edge 500 is lackluster to say the least. The improvements and upgrades from the previous 305 model in terms of a more intuitive user interface and quicker satellite locks were quite nice. But the 305 had better mapping features and the latest edition, the Edge 800, has satellite imagery and other mapping capability that blow this unit away. The 500 isn’t really much more than a speedometer in comparison. Also, the screen can reflect your face and make the display hard to read in certain kinds of sunlight, particularly in winter. If you happen to be more into mountain biking, this unit might not be your best bet because of all that knocking around. Plus, if mud or dust gets into the little holes behind the Edge 500, the barometric altimeter gets compromised.

Price to Value (4 out of 5)

If mapping features are important to you, don’t decide on this model, go with the Edge 800 if you have the money for all its bells and whistles; or else check out the Edge 305. As of the time of this writing, the bundled package with the heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor was on sale at for $350.