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).
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