I have been eyeing the Garmin Edge 520 on fellow racer’s bikes for years and wondered if I should hold out until the price dropped on the newer model, or an even newer one was released. With a list price of $280 it’s right at that point where I could take it or leave it, probably should leave it. I am addicted to checking my elevation and PRs and coming up with dumb names for my rides on Strava and it’s borderline devastating when I know that a ride I normally get 2,000 + feet of elevation gain is recorded with 100 feet. Or when I ride with friends and our time/elevation/mileage are way off from each other. I’m not the fastest but I like to see them gains! So I’ve compared Android and Apple, Galaxy and Note and I think it just comes down to the GPS hardware and firmware. It’s time to test the best.

First impression:

Good

  • I like the size, it’s compact, to the point
  • The interface isn’t pretty good for a GPS
  • Nice loud responsive beeps for starting, pausing, etc
  • A little built in intelligence, it senses movement and ask if you want to start recording, when you pause it prompts you to save.
  • The out front mount with the quick release is spot on and feels solid

Bad

  • Bluetooth setup is not strait forward
  • A lot of hype about Strava integration but this is also not strait forward and is somewhat convoluted to setup (also requires Strava premium)

You need to install the Garmin Connect App on your phone and then go into Strava and enable syncing between the two apps. This will allow you to transfer your ride results with minimal effort from the Edge to Strava via bluetooth.  https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/articles/216918057-Uploading-from-a-Garmin-device-

After about an hour of setup I took it to Horsetooth Mountain Park to put it to the test.

The first thing I noticed was I found myself checking my speed, miles and elevation more. It was interesting and a good gauge for training. Next when I got back to town and I enabled bluetooth on my phone and my activity was almost immediately uploaded to Strava and I had a pocket full of PRs! I don’t think this is because it was recording speed more accurately but instead it was recording segments more accurately. That is to say when I use my phone a lot of my segments go unrecorded because it appears they are off route (due to inaccurate GPS points).

So is this the best cycling computer/GPS? I think so, mainly because of the accuracy, quick release mounting, ease of use and functionality.

Is it worth $280 when you already have the functionality on your phone? My first recommendation would be to get your suspension PUSH’d with this money. Then if you want to take your training to a more interactive level then splurge on the Edge.