I have previously reviewed the Garmin Edge 1000 which is arguably the best bike computer on the market, or at least it was until the 1030 came out. However, at an RRP of £499, it is worth about 50% of my actual bike and is a bit over the top for my needs and most other casual road cyclists.
I should point out that the 1000 is currently available for £279.99 on Amazon which is an absolute steal, and I wish I had bought it myself at this price.
The Garmin Edge 520, on the other hand, offers many of the features most cyclists want but in a smaller size and significantly lower price. Its RRP is £279.99, but you can generally get it for around £175 in Amazon sales.
The fundamental features are just the same as its more expensive brother; you get full GPS tracking, maps, dozens of data fields, access to Garmin connect, and the ability to pair a multitude of sensors. It can also connect to your phone for notification and automatic syncing.
This is not a wholly dumbed down device though; you still get some features that comparative riders will like such as Strava Live Segments, FTP testing, Di2 integration, a VO2 Max calculation and recommended recovery time.
The most apparent differences between this and the Edge 1000 is that it is a lot smaller, there is no touchscreen, and no Wi-Fi.
Mounting the 520 is quite simple, there is a decent out in the front mount that was easy to install and allows you to clip the 520 on and off instantly and securely.
Setting up the Edge 520 is a bit more cumbersome than the 1000 due to its clunky buttons, but the layout is quite intuitive. Initial set up doesn’t take much effort at all, and if you don’t customise things you can be tracking your cycle in a couple of minutes.
Unfortunately for me trying to get the phone to work with my Blackberry KEYone proved to be temperamental, I was able to go through the pairing process but then they devices didn’t connect for my first ride, then on my second ride, they decided to connect after 90 minutes.
This is quite disappointing but not the end of the world for me, I find the Garmin Connect App to be a huge battery drain on my phone when connected to my Forerunner 235, so I generally leave them unconnected.
If you opt to do things via USB like me, then syncing your activities is very simple as well as installing the various apps from Garmin. I find the only decent apps are data screens, but your mileage may vary.
You can set up your activity profile for multiple data screens then customise each one. I quite like a lot of core data so I have my main screen set up either with 8 or 10 segments. This includes time, ride time, calories, average speed, current speed, distance, lap distance, heart rate, and direction.
If you have one of the many optional sensors, you can use other cycling dynamic accurately such as power and cadence.