This is a long term review of the Garmin Edge 500. I bought it in January 2010 and I have ridden around 35000km with it. The Edge 500 has most of the features of the Edge 800 but without the map and it is much smaller. Installation is just as easy. For more details see the Garmin Edge 800 Review. I bought the bundle version with a heart rate monitor and a speed/cadence sensor, which was installed on my time trial bike but I never used the speed sensor.
After you turn the Edge 500 on you have to wait a bit before it has connected with the satellites. This may take up to a few minutes. I experienced some problems after around three years of riding with it. It took longer time to connect to the satellites and even after it had connected it did not record any distance when I started riding. The problem was solved by deleting old rides from it. Deleting the rides also made uploading much faster.
It has up to 5 pages where you can choose up to 8 different data fields. Even with 8 data fields on one page you can easily read the numbers. The data fields can easily be set to show anything you like. There are a wide range of data to put in these fields like distance, speed, gradient, altitude, and temperature. If you buy the bundle version you will also get a heart rate monitor and a speed/cadence sensor. The Edge 500 is also equipped with ANT+ which means you can connect a power meter.
On open roads the GPS signal is pretty stable, but if you ride through a tunnel or a dense forest it might get a bit unstable. Therefore the speed might jump a bit. This could probably be solved by using the speed sensor. It does not seem like a big problem to me. It is normally over after a few seconds and it does not seem to affect the distance.
The big question after so many hours of riding is: Does the battery still work? The answer is yes. Even after a 200km ride where it was turned on for 8 hours it was still half full. René experienced some problems with the heart rate monitor for his Edge 800. I have not had any problems with the heart rate monitor that a battery change could not fix.
When you get home you want to analyze your ride. With a Garmin Edge 500 it is easy to upload your ride to a site like Endomondo or Garmin Connect. If you use Linux you have to be aware that Garmin does not provide an official communicator plugin. In linux Mint 15 there is a plugin available from the ”Software Manager” which can also be found here: Garmin plugin for Linux. This plugin works just like the official windows plugin.
If you do not need a map while riding but want a lot of data, the Edge 500 is perfect for you. It is cheaper than the 800 but has almost the same features. The 200 is even cheaper but it lacks a heart rate monitor. Is it worth the money? I would say definitely. It is very durable and stable. It is also easy to change from bike to bike if you have more than one bike and it does not require any settings to be change if you do not use the speed sensor. It is also pretty cool to say that your bike computer uses The Theory of Relativity.
Written by Andreas
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