Sunday, 22 July 2007

Testing the Garmin Edge 305 Bicycle Computer

Today's ride in Virginia, in elevation

Having been mightily impressed with Will's Garmin GPS unit during our rides in Alsace, I have decided to move into the World of Tomorrow and have purchased my own at a reasonable price on E-Bay. The unit is very nicely made, and was easy to install. Mine comes with all the fixin's, including a heart rate monitor and a cadence unit. The bike looks nicer with a single unit on it rather than the bike computer and HRM I had before. The Garmin is very light but I need to tighten up the base a bit as it shifted a little on bumps. It is easy to read and you can customize the screen with very little effort.

Today I rode a PPTC ride from the Plains, Virginia, on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The weather was perfect and we were a small group of about ten, including two other riders with Specialized Tarmacs, including an E5 like mine. We left from the Plains at 9 am sharp and rode a big circle route around the town of Warrentown. We stopped briefly at a gas station to get the group back together and have something to drink at the 48 km mark. The course was fairly hilly but I felt very strong on it today. After two weeks of serious riding in Europe and a week to recover my legs felt good and I was able to keep up very well on the hills. As we approached the Plains again at the end of the ride I realized that by going five more kms out and back I would get a metric century for the day. The GPS was also indicating 996 m of gain, so I kept riding out on Halfway Road, to discover it has some good climbing in it too!

Once home, I downloaded the data to both the Garmin Training Center software and to Motion Based, a Web-based analytical site also owned by Garmin. A great deal of information can be taken out of the 305 and it was very interesting to read it all. Will will help me with using Google maps to save the route as well but for the moment I have very detailed information about the ride. Downloading was no effort at all, akin to loading an MP3 player. I have attached the chart indicating the elevation today. Oddly enough, the GPS unit showed 1115 m of climbing, while both GTC and Motion Based added quite a bit more, the latter showing 1370 m. So far I am very impressed with the Garmin and hope to use it to its maximum potential as I work my way through the 93 page Owner's Manual.

7 comments:

uncadan8 said...

I love the Garmin! I got mine back in February, and it accompanies me on every ride. It also works well on walks or runs, too. Once you have a ride downloaded you can click on "Activity Options" and you will see a box labeled "gravity-something"; check that and resubmit the ride. It will give you a better set of data. Also make sure you set everything up to receive updates. They come pretty frequently.

Sprocketboy said...

I have found the gravity adjustment and will try that. And thanks for the advice on the updates!

Kyle said...

Glad you're liking the 305 and all its fixins'. Thanks for writing such a thorough review!

Sprocketboy said...

I will be writing at greater length about the Garmin as I work my way through all of its features. Some of my friends have expected it to be a moving map display unit but I think it is more of a bike computer with GPS capabilities rather than a navigational device. It sure is cool, though...

Will said...

Leslie

This link is to the BEST GPS cycling journal/diary. So many features and much better than motionbased

And free!

http://www.zonefivesoftware.com/SportTracks/

Sprocketboy said...

I have downloaded SportTracks shareware already (after having to locate MS .net framework and reconfigure some things!)after I read about it on www.bikejournal.com. It looks very good and I will probably switch to that one as my training diary. Motion Based only gives you access to the last ten rides, so this is better. And, as you say, free!

uncadan8 said...

Ooo, free! I like that! I think I'll give it a try.