Sunday, October 22, 2006

Garmin Edge 305

The Garmin Edge is a GPS enabled cycle computer and a personal trainer. Besides GPS mapping, the Edge 305 has a heart rate monitor, a cadence sensor, and a barometric altimiter. It has an Auto Pause feature which stops the timer when you stop cycling, and resumes when you speed up again. It has a map screen, an altimeter screen, and two data screens that can be toggled back and forth. Each data screen can show up to 8 data fields.
Data fields include time values, cadence values, calories, distance values, elevation, %grade, heading, heart rate values, speed values, sunrise/sunset, ascent/descent-33 total fields to choose from. I like seeing the %grade in real time as I'm doing my hill climbs.

There are many customizable features such as personal data, bike data, heart rate zones, and speed zones. There are also programable alerts for heart rate, cadence, time, and distance. You can program different workout types using time, distance, and speed parameters.

The navigation feature allows you to mark waypoints. The "back to start" feature is great for use if you park your car in a large lot and using the GPS to find your car when you return. Yes, the Edge can be used for walking/running. Here is my route at the Orange County Swap Meet. Notice how I passed my car on the return.

If you have previous courses on your Edge, you can compete against a "virtual partner" shown in the lower part of the screen. The virtual partner rides along side of you. If you are behind, the bottom field background is black. If you are ahead, the background is white.
The quick-release mount for the Edge can be placed on the stem or handlebar. I placed mine on the stem for greater stability , easier viewing, and it frees up one side of my handlebar for other things (bell , horn, light)

The cadence and wheel magnet sensor is mounted on the chainstay-a bit awkward, and since I also use a Polar monitor, I did not mount this sensor.
Although capable of turn-by-turn directions and having a large color screen, the GPSmap 76CS was LARGE and occupied the entire half section of my handlebar.
The Edge is a lot smaller than my GPSmap. W=1.75", H=3.7", D=0.9", Wt=88gThe Edge comes with a Training Center software which creates a log and maintains all the data of your past rides. You can also create workouts and courses that can be sent to the Edge. The tracks on the Edge can also be downloaded to Garmin's MapSource software and converted to .gbd, .mps, and .gpx files.
The Garmin Edge 305 is something a computer/statistician geek turned cyclist like me can really appreciate. No more "Is that a TV on your handlebar?" jokes by other riders.

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