Edge 520 Plus Bike Computer
Modern bike computers offer so much information at our fingertips, it's really pretty amazing. Between route mapping, rider data analysis, and keeping connected with fellow riders and friends and family, today's computers keep us from getting lost, give us the ability to train more effectively, and ride safer. The Edge 520 Plus Bike Computer from Garmin continues the tradition of packing powerful data-sending and-receiving units into small packages that are chock full of bike-specific functions and metrics.
The Edge 520 Plus comes preloaded with full-color Garmin Cycle Map and Strava Live Segments with turn-by-turn directions so you can discover new rides and challenge yourself against personal bests and other riders' segments. It also has a function to get you back to your starting point if you happen to get off course or need to call it a ride early.
Another feature that we're really excited about is the ability to message rider to rider without having to use our phones. So, if you get dropped or are doing the dropping when paired with a compatible smartphone, you can send prewritten notes from this Edge 520 Plus to their compatible Garmin device. It's also helpful if you have a mechanical and realize that CO2 cartridge in your seat bag is spent, and you need the group's assistance, if they're paired with GroupTrack, they can easily find you. It's also compatible with Garmin's Varia line of cycling awareness devices such as its rearview radar and smart bike lights sold separately. When paired with these devices you get alerts on the display of approaching cars as well as helping drivers see you.
Like most modern computers, this device is compatible with ANT+ sensors which include speed, cadence, powermeter, and heart rate monitors so you can keep track of every mile, pedal stroke, watt, and heartbeat. If using Garmin's own Vector 3 pedals, sold separately, data such as total power, left/right balance, and cadence are available. You can even look at cycling dynamics to analyze form, including where your power is being applied on the pedals and throughout the pedal stroke.
Adding a heart rate strap to the mix, sold separately or available with the bundle option, gives you a glimpse into a trove of physiological data. Estimated cycling-specific VO2 max is available, along with a recovery advisor, that analyzes your data and provides suggestions on how long to wait before attempting another difficult ride. All of the data can be uploaded to the Garmin Connect community providing you with a library of ride history.
By connecting with Garmin's Connect IQ store, you can easily customize the Edge 520 Plus with apps and data. Handy weather apps such as AccuWeather keep you abreast of changing conditions and access to training apps, like TrainingPeaks, let you know at a glance if you are riding at the prescribed zone for the day. Each data field is customizable so you can put important information where you want on the easy to read screen.
Factor in the IPX7 water resistance rating, ideal for mountain and 'cross conditions, 15-hour battery life, and integration with other Garmin devices, like its VIRB camera, and you end up with a handy device that makes cycling more fun, potentially safer, and the ability to reach new levels on the bike. Included with the computer is a flush out-front mount, standard mount, tether, USB cable, and manual.
- Advanced GPS bike computer for competing and navigating
- Map routes with the pre-loaded map library
- Downloads routes from apps such as Trailforks
- Communicate with other devices with rider-to-rider messaging
- Has the ability to get you back to the ride's starting point
- Syncs with Garmin Connect that builds you riding library
- Displays smartphone notifications and weather information
- ANT+ connectivity works with many speed, cadence, HR, and power meters
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This bike computer is easy to set up and use and mostly seems to have accurate tracking on speed, miles, and vert. You can get notifications about your text messages on the screen as well.
Works great, no issues
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I don't understand the negative reviews of this cycling computer. Okay, it takes a little more time to scroll through screens/menus to set it up to your personal preferences, but it not that big of a deal. Of course, I'm old enough to remember a time when you had to actually get out of your armchair to change a station. The advantage of having top notch navigation outweighs the few extra minutes to set it up to your liking. If the buttons confuse you/you cannot get the hang of each button function then you probably shouldn't be riding a bike on the road anyhow. The only drawback I could find is it can take several minutes for the device to restart after loading a large amount of .tcx files into it. I was getting ready to contact Garmin when it finally loaded all the files (about a dozen). I thought the device had frozen up/became unresponsive. Just find something else to do for a little while and come back to it. Should be fine. You would think it would reboot and load files faster though.
For competitive riders only!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This is a really advanced cycling computer. It is not a functioning GPS unit!
Do you race? buy this, great for training and race day.
Do you Strava? Buy this. great to race strava live segments.
But, if you are looking for a GPS unit that displays your position over a map, run away. Get the larger 1000 series unit. You can't easily zoom in or out of the map to see where you are on your course. It really isn't designed for navigation of unfamiliar areas. I bought is specifically because it integrates with the Trail Forks mountain bike app. It is really convoluted to make that process work. Just a lot easier to use the trail forks app on your phone and leave this unit in the ride bag. Same goes for road bike use and navigation. Just way more functional to pull out your phone and check the map.
This is a really niche product. It is a very expensive bike computer and a very poorly designed compact GPS unit.
Because you didn't research and buy the correct model, you give this a bad rating?
A big step backwards
- Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
I am a Garmin loyalist. I have been using the 820 since 2016 and the 810 before that, and both units have generally worked very well. But the screen on my 820 is beginning to fail, so I decided to get a new second unit. I thought I would save some $ and get the new 520 Plus - which is billed as more or less an 820 without the touch screen. I have a PhD, but honestly I could not for the life of me figure out how to use those 7 buttons. Sure, maybe it is just me. But I am returning it unused and getting another 820. I think this is why so many folks have switched over to the Wahoos. The 820 with touchscreen is reasonably intuitive, but I would suggest thinking twice about the 520 plus. Given the amount of functionality on the unit, IMHO touch screen is far better.
there is a learning curve to the antiquated push button menu navigation. Also the Navigation has let me down on several occasions. I'm looking forward to Garmin getting their act together or I'm switching to another option.
I've never used a garmin before and in the process of researching. Can you tell me some reasons to get a navi unit vs just using my phone? thanks
Thanks much for the review. I have had the 800 since 2012 and am afraid to change because it was so hard to set up. I was looking at the 520 Plus because it has color maps but your review makes me pause. The Wahoos are black and white and would require new mounts on each of my bikes so not as attractive to me.