Garmin Edge 1030

OK, I’m going to try something new.

As you are probably aware, I’m an avid cyclist.  I really like cycling.  Some may say it’s an addiction (albeit on the healthy side).

Standard disclaimer:

Being into technology, I’ve accumulated a fair bit of bike tech also.  As such, I’m going to try doing thumbnail reviews of some of the bike tech that I current, or used to, use.

These aren’t going to be super technical reviews.  For that kind of thing I suggest you head over to
DCRainmaker‘s blog or GPLama‘s YouTube channel.

These are going to be my impressions of the product … what I like, what I don’t like, what could be better, and some things that should be left just the way they are.

All the items I’m going to review have been purchased outright by me and I don’t get any compensation for the reviews (unless I provide an Amazon link, in which case I get a small commission).

So here goes with my first review … the Garmin Edge 1030.

I’ve been using Garmin bike computers from the start of my serious cycling life. I started with a Garmin Edge 500, upgraded to the 810, then went to the 1000, and now have the 1030.

So here’s what I really like about the 1030…

  • Battery life: It lasts a REALLY long time.  I’ve used it on double metric century rides and had plenty of juice to spare.  Even with a bluetooth connection, it lasts a long time.
  • It connects to both ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) devices.  This includes phones and sensors.
  • Connectivity: It can upload completed rides via a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone or wifi.
  • Over the air updates: When a new firmware version is release (every few months), the update can be downloaded when connected to a wifi network. No need to plug it into a computer.
  • Live track: It can post your current location to a web page so your friends can keep track of your progress.
  • Big screen: It has a nice big, color, touch screen.  Very easy to use.  The external buttons are only used to start & stop a ride, power it off or put it to sleep, and trigger a lap (which I honestly have never done).
  • Built in route calculation: It has maps & route information so it can calculate a good route to a location.  Unlike some bike computers, it doesn’t need a cell phone to download routes.  
  • It can also route you back to your starting location either using the route you took out or the most efficient route.  I’ve used the 1030 to calculate routes using all 3 modes and it worked fine (caveat: See below).  
  • It supports an external battery pack: Although I don’t have the battery pack, if you’re into bike packing, this feature could be invaluable.

Here are a few of the things I’m not to pleased with…

  • The Live track feature requires that you send your fiends & family a link every time you start a ride.  Sometimes the emails don’t seem to go out properly.  I wish they offered a ‘permalink’ feature, so you could just give your friends a single link that would show your current ride whenever you start it.
  • The garmin branded protective case is just a bumper around the sides. It doesn’t protect the back.  It does provide a lip around the edge, so if you place it face down, the display isn’t sitting on a table (preventing it from getting scratched).
  • Route calculation can take a long time. Sometimes this is annoying if you’re leading a group and everyone is waiting for your bike computer to calculate a route.
  • Sometimes (rarely) the builtin route calculation glitches out and tells me that I have 1000+ miles to go on my route.  Also, rarely, I’ve had it report a ‘route calculation error’. Usually I’m able to get a good route by asking it to calculate the route again.

Should you upgrade?

OK, so if you have a previous generation Garmin Edge … should you consider upgrading to the 1030?

As with most things, it depends …

If you have the 1000, it’s a maybe.  The battery life on the 1030 is significantly better, but many of the features of the 1030 exist in the 1000.

If you have anything earlier than the 1000, I would recommend it. The battery life is great and the display is much nicer.

So there you have it … my first cycling product review.  I plan on reviewing some of the other products that I use …

  • Bike radar
  • Bike lights
  • Sensors
  • Trainers
  • Software

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