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Garmin Advice


This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  spreader 3 years, 10 months ago.

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    Hi all. This summer I really got back into biking. I bought an Argon 18 road bike and joined a club. I rode the Dirty Enduro on my 1996 Spesh Rockhopper sans shocks on a rear slick and bike rack and then bought a Specialized Crave the next weekend. I need help determining between two Garmins, the basic Edge 25 and mid-level Edge 520.

    Practical uses to me:
    – HRM and heart rate display
    – time elapsed
    – current speed (road) / average speed (MTB)
    – Strava uploading of the ride (non-premium)
    – connect allows my wife to know where I might be if I don’t come home from a solo DVP MTB ride

    The cons I’ve found with the Edge 25:
    – short battery life (is this really an issue?)
    – proprietary charging plug + no charge on the go (goes with battery life)
    – unable to display Heart Rate along with any other data fields
    – POSSIBLE sub-par GPS tracking of MTB courses due to “Smart” gps polling

    All of these cons are dealt with in the 520. But at more than double the cost. Chain Reaction has the 25+HRM on for $228 right now, which is much less than the $520 the 520 commands (but includes speed/cadence sensors + out front mount). I’d probably run the speed sensor on my MTB to help with GPS tracking under tree coverage and put the cadence on the road bike, so there is value to me in the sensors. Am I overthinking the cons of the 25, are they really cons at all? I’m hoping someone on here has the 25 and can vouch for it or against it. It’s a cracking good deal to me, and the 520 has ALOT of features I don’t need…

    Thanks for any and all replies.



    Hi @spreader Welcome to RFG.

    Can someone with Garmin experience and knowledge give our new member a hand? I’m an iPhone/Strava guy myself but would also like to know the answers to the questions you have posed. I have a very old 305 that I’d like to replace.

    Happy trails!



    Most people who have used a device with smart recording on mountain bike trails have come away disappointed. If the trail is twisting through the woods, corners will be cut off and the track will report far shorter than the actual distance ridden. Adding a wheel sensor, which the 25 can take, will correct the lost distance, but will not correct the over-generalization of the track.

    Note that actual positional and speed accuracy of the 25 and the 520 should be similar, it’s just that the 25 does not *Log* it as accurately with smart recording.

    Battery life may be additionally shortened below Garmin’s estimate when it’s cold, and when you have the backlight on, which in winter is often yes to both.

    So far, the live tracking feature on the 520 through garmin connect has been sketchy. On my last attempt to use it, It reported on the map I sent my wife that I was stationary under the Leaside bridge while I rode on home. Firmware upgrades may fix this, but we aren’t there yet. The old (free) endomondo app worked far better, even if the GPS did drain the phone bettery a lot faster than a BT connection to a garmin.

    If you’re willing to forgo the live tracking through garmin, is an older 500 an option?



    I find it hard to justify the high cost of GPS stuff. Honestly it is worth considering if you can just use your phone – if you have a newer phone the battery life should be alright for this purpose. My old phone would barely last an hour with Strava running, but my current one is fine up to 4-6 hours. Although leaving the screen on would destroy that longevity.

    I only use a GPS for very long rides, and I just use a very old Garmin eTrex that I got used for $100. It uses rechargeable AA batteries, so you can carry spares and swap them on the rare occasion that you are riding for more than 20 hours at a time.

    It’s not really designed for biking, but if the cost is an issue just look around for used stuff.



    @ghettocruiser I could do without live tracking. I really like the idea of uploading the ride via Bluetooth rather than during up the PC. I don’t really need Bluetooth though as I’m not using this as a live Strava machine. What you say about smart tracking is what scares me the most, innacurate logging due to this manufactured handicap.

    @micah356 I “need” the computer for road use. Often at the front of the paceline I am on the lead for a set length of time, at a set speed. I need to know this information the most.

    I’ve been using my Nexus5, which has been good with Strava, except it does consume batteries if rather have in case of emergency, and the phone/program also doesn’t auto-stop-start all that well.

    If I end up doing any XC or road events I don’t want to HAVE to bring my big phone in a jersey pocket. I want something dedicated to the job.



    The other phone issue is rain and mud, neither of which are conducive to a touch-screen phone operation halfway through a ride. And using a phone touch screen in winter requires glove removal. I like to bury the phone in a zip-lock bag, take calls (if needed) with a BT headset, and not take it out until the ride is over.

    The 500 is still selling new for almost as much as the 520, but the market is flooding with used ones from people who ave upgraded. They do break occasionally, which could be an issue for a non-original owner, but I replaced a dead battery, leaking case, and cracked screen on mine over the years with absolutely no electronics repair skills.



    Hi @spreader. I’d say GhettoCruiser is as much of an authority as you will find on this stuff but to add my own 2cents, I bought my first garmin (a 510) a year ago and feel it was well worth the money. My phone became an increasing source of frustration and as others said, I want/need it for other things.

    I use a heart rate monitor as well (for some reason I am not quite sure of) and though I have my display set to show my heart rate prominently, I almost never look at it. Maybe sometimes if I feel my heart is about to explode to confirm same. I do mountain bike almost exclusively though so if I look at this stuff it is typically after the fact. I could see data being more valuable on the fly road riding with a group.

    Strava uploading works well, and my 510 battery lasts ages. No idea about the smaller models.

    Also, thought I would mention the Strava live segments were totally buggy/broken and when I tried them and always resulted in my garmin having a seizure or crashing at some point in the ride. No idea if this has been fixed to some degree but I would be cautious if this is a selling feature for you. I abandoned this feature for… mental health reasons.

    Hope this helps some!



    I actually found another of @ghettocruiser posts in another forum. The thread talked a lot about smart GPS and the conclusion was that it might work fine, but it has been known to give problems. There are just too many chances I’d be taking if I bought the 25 and I’d regret not spending the money and getting myself what I really belive I want and need. I will update in the spring when I find one and get to use it. For now it’s fingers crossed there’s a price drop in the next couple months 😉



    hanks for all the feedback guys. I pulled the trigger this week on a 520 and it should be in a the shop soon. I figured that if and when I experienced the shortcomings of the 25 it would bother me to no end that I could have gotten the 520. Added value with the 520 pack is that it includes a 2nd out front mount for the roadie ($35) and the speed & cadence sensors ($90). I’ll try and post up a review sometime this summer after a few rides in the Don and out on the open roads.

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