When it comes to bike computers there are two names that dominate the game. Garmin and, more recently, Wahoo have become the go-to brands for handlebar mounted GPS computers, and with good reason. They both offer us a huge range of data, simply displayed and easily customisable. They also allow us to plot, upload and follow routes, putting an end to the stop-start rigmarole of checking the map every five minutes.
Get the Edge
For over a decade, Garmin have been making their ground-breaking Edge range of bicycle computers, utilising GPS and wireless technology to provide riders with a staggering array of features in a super-reliable package. They have taken us all into a world previously reserved for the pros, offering speed, distance and lap timings, as well as power, heart rate and cadence readings, affording us weekend warriors untold insights into our cycling performance.
Garmin have recently updated two of the most popular products in their range. The latest Edge 530 and Edge 830 provide you even more information both during and after a ride on a bigger, clearer screen in an even simpler-to-use package. The 830 offers the user touchscreen controls and additional navigational aids, though other than that the two units are very similar.
Are we there yet?
Like the previous models, both offer up a colossal array of metrics for you to get stuck into on their 2.6” colour screen. They’re light too – a barely-there 77g and 81g for the 530 and 830 respectively. You can customise the display, allowing you to indicate everything from current speed to altitude gain and, when used alongside compatible sensors, power, heart rate and cadence data. For roadies, the new ClimbPro ‘are we there yet?’ feature, found on both models, could be a real godsend, showing the remaining elevation gain and grade for preloaded climbs to help you judge your efforts accordingly.
Garmin’s own Cycle Map is preloaded on both models, and the 830 is capable of turn-by-turn navigation using Garmin’s user-popularity ratings to take you down the best road, gravel or MTB routes. If you take a wrong turn you’ll be guided back on course and, should you flag a little earlier than expected, calculate a route home for you if needed.
Mountain bikers will be happy to note that both models come preloaded with a planet’s worth of Trailforks itineraries, a mountain biking mapping software. The devices will even count your radness factor, recording the number of jumps, jump distance and hang time that you nailed on your day out.
Garmin’s newest computers offer some neat in-built safety features. Incident detection comes as standard on both, alerting designated contacts in the event of the unit detecting a crash. And when you’re at the all-important café stop, you can sync the device with your smartphone, providing you with a pastry-interrupting beep should your bike be moved mid munch.
The Edge 530 and 830 can be configured to notify when you should refuel, work with additional apps such as Komoot, Strava and AccuWeather and connect to useful services such as TrainingPeaks and Garmin Connect after your ride. A promised 20-hour battery life should be plenty for even the most committed riders.
Wahoo’s new Elemnt Roam is their first full-colour computer, and its base mapping is integrated with Singletracks and MTB Project, providing off-road segments for the growing legions of gravel lovers. The Roam’s display is personalised using the companion app, and it offers similar data to the Edge. The Roam improves on the previous Elemnt Bolt with its enhanced navigational features – the ‘take me to’ feature allows you to store favourite locations, and it can route you to a planned course if you start from a different location, similar to car sat nav devices. It will also display notifications from your phone if you configure it to do so.
Its screen is slightly larger than the Edge at 2.7” and it weighs in a feathery 95 grams. Global mapping is included and the colour screen makes it really easy to read, even when you’re bouncing along less-than-velvety tracks.