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Training with GPS doesn't have to be all-consuming. Even if you're someone who worries about the simple pleasure of the ride being eclipsed by the overbearing features of your head unit, you still don't have to avoid all GPS computers. Garmin's Edge 20 Bike Computer provides the basic info you need for effective training without making you feel like you're spending your entire ride staring at a screen.
Smaller than other Garmin bike computers, the Edge 20 and its slightly more advanced sibling, the Edge 25, were released to offer a replacement to the wallet-friendly Edge 200. The Edge 20 is the simpler of the two, and offers customizable screens that display total time and distance, average and current speed, current location, and calories burned.
Garmin firmly stuck to the theme of simplicity with the Edge 20, so if you want to track heart rate or would like wireless capabilities, you'll have to upgrade to the Edge 25 — the 20 is GPS-only, with no ANT+ or Bluetooth connectivity. It's operated using four buttons on the sides, which also allow you to quickly set alerts for pace, laps, time, and distance. When it's fully charged, the Edge 20 can run continuously for up to 8 hours, and it can withstand passing through a little rain or snow over the course of your ride without a problem.
When you're back at home, you can use the included USB cord to upload ride data to Garmin Connect — the platform gives you the opportunity to compare routes with others and keep track of your progress. If that's still a little too much reliance on technology, the Edge 20 has space to store up to 10 rides, so you can delete what you don't want and get back to enjoying the scenery on your next ride.
- Item #GRM004P
- Q & A
Meets my needs
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Needed a new bike computer, and expected to get a new wireless with fork sensor and wheel magnet. Then I discovered that the newest thing seems to be these GPS units. I was excited to no longer need the fork sensor, which always got in the way of bike cleaning, and periodically needed adjustment and battery changing. My first experience with a different unit I got on sale from Competitive cyclist was disappointing. Even with an extra wheel hub sensor, speed readings were inaccurate. I returned it within the allowable 30 days to Competitive, and purchased the Edge 20. This unit was noticeably better from the start. Much more accurate speed readings, and very easy to use screens. Fits nicely on my aero bars, where it's easy to see.
Two minor complaints: 1) Although the description states it receives GPS signals even through dense tree cover, that is definitely not the case, where I ride. Even with light tree cover on just one side of the road, signal is lost, and I can see the speed reading going down, even though I know it is not. When I emerge from the tree areas, the speed jumps right up again, and the slight glitch does not seem to affect overall average speed, which I guess the unit calculates by GPS, based on how long it actually took to get from point a to point b.
The second issue is battery life. The unit has a battery in it that has to be recharged before every ride. They say it will run continuously for 8 hours. I haven't tried a ride that long. My typical rides are about 2 hours. I first tried two 2 hr rides on two consecutive days without recharging, and the power ran out before completion of the second ride. I tried it again, turning the power off during my rest stop where I reverse direction, but that prevented me from adding the return data to the first half of the ride. I had to start the recording as a new ride, and do my own calculations with the combined results. In the summer, I will be doing 4 hr rides, so we'll see how well it retains power.
- Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Most of us don't need a full-blown, $500 GPS head unit that charts everything from routes to watts to when it's time to shave your legs again--all on a brightly colored touchscreen that eats battery life with the alacrity of Ullrich eating German pastries at a holiday party. The Edge 20 is a simple GPS solution for those of us who don't need or want to complicate their training with unnecessary feature-creep. It's being used as an Ironman training tool, and it's more than capable of doing the job.