Monday, May 20, 2013

CheapRunnerMike's Garmin Edge 200 GPS Review

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

This year I am trying to take my cycling a bit more seriously so I decided I would do what I did when I wanted to take my running more seriously...get a GPS unit to start tracking myself. I already had a wired cyclometer (Louis Garneau EOS11) which served me well enough by providing speed, time and distance off of the sensor on the wheel, but I was looking for more, and greater accuracy.

Garmin Edge 200

Louis Garneau EOS11 - Time to Cut the Cord

I did a bunch of research online and settled upon Garmin's entry-level unit, the Edge 200. I bought it at MEC, where it is priced at $129 (plus I was able to get an additional 10% off by showing my race bib). It had all the features I wanted, had received good reviews and I already had experience with Garmin's GPS's. An added bonus was that Garmin is also well integrated with DailyMile, which is where I was already manually tracking my cycling.

The Edge 200 is a sharp looking device and is a nice size...1.9"W x 2.7"H x 0.8"D and weighing in at only 2.1oz. Not quite as small as my old Garneau, but still compact enough to mount anywhere I would want.

What's in the box? All this...

In addition to the GPS unit itself, there is a standard USB wall charger and cable (which is also used to upload your rides to Garmin Connect on your computer, no wifi option), not one but two bike mounts and owner's manuals in multiple languages (I just stuck with English).

Installation of the bike mount was ridiculously simple...without having to run any wires or calibrate any sensors it took three minutes tops. Garmin uses heavy duty elastic bands to secure the mount to the bike and these things seem to be very durable...I don't have any concerns about it coming loose. I ended up putting the second bike mount on CRM's bike so that she can use the GPS if she so chooses as well.

A nice fit mounted on the stem

Don't let the Edge 200's low price fool you...this GPS has all the features the "non-hardcore" cyclist would really be looking for. It easily tracks your speed, time and distance and clearly presents all three as separate lines of info on the screen. These details are locked and cannot be customized. There is a smaller fourth line of data at the bottom which scrolls between average speed, elevation and calories burned (estimated based on your settings). That would be one of the features that may be an issue for some users, the Edge 200 is not ANT+ or Bluetooth compliant and does not support heart rate monitors or speed/cadence sensors. For me, this was not an issue.

Course 'Map' Example - an Ambitious Upcoming Ride

The Garmin Edge 200 allows you to create your own courses online and load them onto the GPS. This is a nice way to keep track of common routes you take as well as planning out longer trips that are in unfamiliar areas. The Edge 200 doesn't give you a map like the GPS in your car would, but it does present you with a linear representation of your route, showing upcoming turns and also providing alerts if you veer off course. One other nice feature of the course option is that you can set a target pace or time for the course and you will have a race against a virtual rider. Throughout your ride you can scroll to a screen that shows your progress relative to the virtual rider, giving you your time and distance either ahead of or behind the target time/pace. I used the course on my last ride, which was 45K up at the cottage. The course took me to some new spots that I had never been to before and it was nice to know that I wouldn't get lost.

Garmin Connect - Glorious Information!

After you have completed your ride you have the option to upload your ride information to Garmin Connect (accounts are free). This is done right through their website with the use of a browser plugin...meaning you need an actual computer of some sorts with a USB port, not an iPad/iPhone. The Garmin Connect site has a plethora of options available, including mapping tools to create new courses or the option to go find courses nearby that others have already created. Your ride details are displayed nicely, showing you a map of where your ride was, timing, distance, any splits that you had chosen to set up (I set mine for 5K intervals) and even what the weather was like during your ride.

I mentioned earlier that Dailymile has done a good job of integrating information from Garmin...they give you the option to sync on their website through the Garmin Connect plugin. The nice thing about the Garmin integration is that it also pulls in your ride map and elevation, a very nice bonus that I was not expecting.

Garmin Info on Dailymile

In summary, I would certainly recommend the Garmin Edge 200 to anyone who is thinking about upgrading from a sensor to GPS, so long as high-end features are not a major requirement. The Edge 200 does the basics, but it does them exceptionally well. For me the Garmin Edge 200 is money well spent.



No comments:

Post a Comment