One of my favorite gizmo sites, Engadget, just introduced me to a very cool looking bicycle computer; the Garmin Edge 705. Their story can be found here.
I’ve been a user of the Garmin Edge 305 for about 18 months now and I love it.
Prior to the Edge, I’ve used about 6 different bicycle computers. Most recently, I used the Polar 720i. The Polar was a good unit that introduced me to an integrated heart rate monitor. Prior to the Polar, I’d used a number of wired units from various vendors. My main criteria is cadence. Maintaining a good, high cadence will help save your knees (the irony is that I started this blog during the recovery from my second knee surgery). I am a geek (my wife argues that I am actually a nerd) and I love bike computers.
My main concern with the Polar was the fact that I’d periodically find myself going about 250 mph with a heart rate in the 170 bpm range. Typically, that would happen when I wasn’t even moving, so I new something was wrong. The unit did have a known electrical interference problem. I think living in a Navy town adds to the electrical waves in the air around me that cause problems. It was bad enough that I’d often have garbage data after rides. This isn’t good for a numbers geek like me.
Meet GPS: the Garmin Edge has not had near the interference problems that I’d had before. In close to 100 rides, I’ve only had interference about 3 times. All with the HR monitor in the beginning of my ride. I think it is a combination of my jersey flapping on it while not being sweaty enough to get a good signal. I have an early down hill that points toward the ocean and often into the wind. I’ve heard that the flapping of your jersey can cause a bad signal. I don’t know about that. I do know that the HR signal needs moisture (provided by sweat) to get a good reading. I put water on it before I start, but it probably dries a little at first.
Aside from that, the only other big complaint I’ve had with it is battery life. It will do 8 hours, so you need to remember to recharge it often. You also have to be careful about how you recharge it. It it is plugged into the computer and you power the computer down, it will then discharge leaving you with no device for your ride. That is a major bummer to me.
There have been a lot of little annoyances that have mostly been fixed with firmware updates, so that is good. With my positive experience using the Edge 305, I look forward to one day playing with the 705. I don’t know if it packs enough to warrant an upgrade, but it should open the door for people to get the 305 at a much better price.