Saturday, May 16, 2015

Garmin Edge 510: First Impressions + Installation

It is time for a new cycling computer! This time, I decided to get a Garmin cycle computer as it has many new functions that I want to try out.

All my other bikes are using Cateye cycle computers, so a Garmin is new to me. My Dahon Boardwalk and Dahon Vitesse are using the older Cateye Strada Wireless computer; the Avanti Inc 3 commuting bike is using the Cateye Strada Slim cycle computer, while the Merida road bike is using the Strada Digital Wireless with HR and cadence sensor.

I have plans to move the Strada Digital Wireless cycle computer from the road bike to the Dahon MuEX that is on the Minoura bike trainer. This cycle computer will help to keep track of the cadence and heart rate for a more efficient workout. At the same time, it can also track the distance pedaled on the bike trainer (although speed and distance are not accurate on the bike trainer). Therefore, I will need a new cycle computer for use on the road bike.

Why a Garmin? First, I wanted to try something different instead of getting another Cateye. Cateye cycle computers are good and reliable, but their functionality is limited even for the newer models. Also, I wanted to use ANT+ sensors, which allow the cycle computer to be moved around different bikes easily. It would also be useful to have GPS to log the route taken, and combine it with video footage taken with the Shimano Sport Camera.

From reviews, it seems that the Garmin is easy to use and has some really good functions that I can try out. There are a few models to choose from, the Edge 510, Edge 810 and Edge 1000. The Edge 1000 is too advanced for my intended usage, and it is also very expensive. Between the Edge 810 and Edge 510, it seems that the main difference is that the Edge 810 has map navigation functions, while the Edge 510 does not. Finally, I decided to get the Edge 510 as I think I will not be needing the navigation function.

Garmin Edge 510 Bundle

Also can be connected to a smartphone for even more functions and connectivity

The bundle comes with bike mounts, HR sensor, Speed/Cadence sensor

The head unit of the Garmin Edge 510

Comes with the full array of mounts, sensors and other miscellaneous stuff

HR sensor and strap, Speed/Cadence sensor, and the magnets

Speed/Cadence sensor with an extra rubber pad to fit different seatstay shapes

2 sets of basic handlebar mounts with lots of rubber bands, and an out-front mount

2 complete set of mounts for multiple bikes, with different rubber band lengths

The out-front mount with a 31.8mm clamp, and a rubber shim for smaller diameter handlebars  

What is great about the bundle is that it comes with all the ANT+ sensors and 3 full sets of mounts for multiple bikes. This saves time and money from having to buy additional mounts for your other bikes. Garmin expects users to use the cycle computer across different bikes and thus supplies the mounts for you to do so easily. It is also cheaper to get the bundle than to buy the mounts and sensors separately.

The rear of the head unit. The simple yet secure quarter twist mounting design that is unique to Garmin.

Rubber flap hides the mini USB port that is used for charging and data transfer, and also protects it from rain.

After starting up the computer, I followed the instructions as provided in the user manual, and fiddled around with the settings. With such a high tech cycle computer, it feels very much like the unboxing of a new smartphone, with lots of settings and customization available.

This new Garmin has a new way of setting up the computer, so that it is easy to use different settings for different bikes and rides. By setting a different bike profile for each bike, it lets the computer know which sensors to detect and what wheel size to use, if the bikes are of different wheel sizes.

Next, select the ride profile that you want to use. This determines what parameters to display on the screen. For example, when commuting, I would like to see the time of the day. I do not need to see cadence or heart rate when I am riding to work.

On the other hand, when I am riding fast on longer rides, I would like to see cadence, heart rate and perhaps average speed. By choosing a different ride profile, I will be able to choose what to display and what not to display on the screen.

The top row allows you to select the bike to track, and the bottom row allows you to select the ride profile and thus the parameters to display. You can also choose the colour to use for different ride profiles.

The ride profile that I use for commuting. Not many parameters are actually needed.

There are many more functions that I would like to share, but it will be in a future post where I give a more in depth review after using this Garmin for some time.

One thing to note is that the screen is pressure sensitive, which means that it requires some finger pressure to work properly, different from smartphones. This makes the operation slightly sluggish, but it also means that it will work even if you are wearing full finger gloves, and will not be affected by rain water on the screen.

The bike that I first installed the Garmin on is the Merida Scultura 5000 road bike. As you can see below, there is not much space left on the handlebar for the Garmin.

Squeezing in the Garmin beside the Shimano Sport Camera. With such an arrangement, the camera needs to be removed first, before I can twist off the Garmin from the out-front mount.

The camera has to be located on the right side of the Garmin. This is because the power button of the Garmin is on the left side, which means that if the camera is on the left side, it will block access to the power button.

Installing the speed/cadence sensor on the Merida. No problem here, quite similar to how I set up the sensor with the Cateye Strada Digital Wireless cycle computer.

Instead of using the supplied crank arm magnet, I just stuck a strong magnet on the pedal axle. This works just as well and looks way better than cable tying a magnet onto the crank arm.

Installation is very straight forward and quick. Pairing the ANT+ sensors to the Garmin head unit is also quite easy with no problem. Once the sensors are paired, they will automatically start transmitting data once there is movement. The head unit will also detect the data automatically, which makes everything work really seamlessly.

Currently I am still testing out the Garmin Edge 510, and figuring out how to use the more advanced functions. I will write a more detailed review when the time is right!

Garmin Edge 510: In Depth Review here!


  1. Bro, you should add "Cadence" counter on your default page.
    As for the speed , pls use "current speed".
    I hope you will buy power meter too in near future and start training like there's no tomorrow.

    BTW:There's a bug in Garmin application, see below:

    1. Thanks for the comment. I don't need cadence as this is my commuting profile. In fact I actually do not require cadence as it is not important to me.
      The speed setting as seen above is the current speed. Not sure which version of Garmin you have, but in this version, speed refers to current speed.


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