Garmin EDGE200 GPS Review

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edge-200-in-hand

Let me say at the outset that having used this device for a month now – it’s FANTASTIC! I’ve used it in conjunction with the free mapping and measurement service you get access to when you buy one of these and I’ve also tried ridingwithgps to generate routes which I’ve downloaded to the EDGE200 from my PC.

But that’s running ahead a bit – there are many ways to use this little miracle and I’m going to take you through the basics of each.


Mounting the Edge200

edge200-mounting-kit
edge200-mounting

The Edge200 is a breeze to fix to your handlebars. It’s supplied with two of these kits shown on the left. You simply hold the mounting plate where you want the GPS, and then slip on two of the supplied rubber bands to hold it in place. After that, the actual EDGE200 fits on with a quarter-turn and locks nicely in place.

Switch on and Ride

This is what I do for my morning rides when I don’t need a route loaded and I just want to record distance, time, max speed, average speed. It does also provide altitude gained and lost and even a calorie estimation, but I generally don’t worry about those on short runs.

The beautiful simplicity of this facility is illustrated by the actions we take:-

  • Press Power Button
  • Wait for GPS fix (a few seconds at most and the unit beeps).
  • Press ‘Ride’ Button’
  • Press ‘Start’ Button

That’s it!

The EDGE200 now begins tracking your movement, providing speed and distance measurements continuously. Whenever you stop, the EDGE200 recognizes this and beeps – also giving a visual indication. This is used to provide you with a real average speed reading for your ride independently of the stop-time at traffic lights and so on.

At the end of the ride, you simply ‘save’ the ride which is now stored for download to your pc.

Viewing Your Ride

I’ve been using the free Garmin Connect for this. Here’s a typical display from my short morning rides:

morning-ride-example

Comparing Your Rides

Garmin Connect lists all of your rides under ‘activities’ so as your list grows, you can compare your performance from ride to ride:

garmin-activities-list

And that’s all there is to using EDGE200 to record your rides – it’s simply fantastic!

Planning a Course For Your Ride

The next method I used with the Edge200 was to plot a ride on map and then have the device direct me on the ride, turn by turn. I REALLY love this mode – and you’ll soon see why!

The first thing I did was to explore how I could generate a route. Now for some reason, I didn’t look at Garmin Connect for this – and I still haven’t. The tool I did use (and am still using) was/is Ridewithgps. I subscribed to the $6/month plan which is fine for my needs – and probably for yours. Here’s a recent ride I plotted:-
ridewithgpsroute

After generating and saving the route, you simply press the button to export it as a gpx file. If you pay for the $10 plan, the site has a one-button facility for downloading the route to your GPS – but you don’t really need it. All I do is transfer the file directly to the ‘newfiles’ folder inside the ‘Garmin’ folder. The EDGE200 looks just like any other drive on your PC once plugged in to the USB port so it’s really, really easy.

Riding with Breadcrumbs

Once you’ve loaded the route file into your EDGE200, using it is really easy – and a blessing when you enjoy just riding and not navigating!

edge200-breadcrumbs

You simply switch the device on and select ‘routes’, then select the route you’ve loaded – and ride! The EDGE200 shows you a line vector – just a line – and you ride until it tells you to turn. Turn warnings are set to 30m before the turn.

I most recently used this on an 88m ride on the Queensland coast in Australia – and got one or two surprises!

Off-Course Alarms

If you veer off course by a few meters, the EDGE200 will warn you with an ‘off-course’ alarm. However, I found that it was not always obvious how I could be off-course, as there were times I could see no turning points on the road I was on. And then I realized…

The RidewithGPS maps I had generated were for BIKE TRAILS – so there were places on the route that turned off into very inconspicuous entries to bike-trails through parks and minor roads. This is really fantastic! As a result I ened up riding through the most beautiful scenic parks that I would have missed altogether if i had stayed on the road!

Of course, it also tells you how many km (or miles) are left to the end of your ride, your speed and so on as you ride and the bar on the top of the display basically shows you how much of the ride you’ve covered at any time.

Conclusion

The Garmin EDGE200 GPS is a cyclists best friend for recording rides and for planning and riding routes. It’s not encumbered with maps, it provides superb turn by turn navigation and it’s cheap – and I mean cheap – on this site! I’m LOVING IT!.