Product Preview: Garmin Edge 520

Cycling computers can do some awesome things. Even the most basic models can make a good ride feel like a great accomplishment, whether it's by showing you your total mileage or an incredible top speed. For riders with major challenges on their minds, however, the data collected represent something greater: progress towards their goals. For the vast majority of even dedicated riders, the ride distances and speeds of major events, competitive or not, aren't challenges one can tackle without a lot of preparation and hard work. That's why we sell computers of all levels; for some people, knowing their speed and distance is enough, while for others, keeping track of their heart rate, wattage, elevation, and other vital information is the difference between raising their hands in victory and sitting by the road waiting for a lift. We also understand that if you're a casual rider, keeping track of all that data can seem excessive or intimidating.

But what if a computer could make you safer? What if it also introduced you to friendly competition, all the while making sure you were being compared to athletes similar to yourself? What if, in short, it could be good for beginners, seasoned pros, and everyone in between? The Garmin Edge 520 comes with features that make it the most flexible computer ever to help casual riders become enthusiasts and enthusiasts become even stronger, which makes us at Quad Cycles very excited to have it here.

First, the Edge 520 is compatible with the Garmin Varia lights, which, when paired with a compatible Garmin, automatically turn on and off depending on the time, as well as changing intensity depending on your speed. With a 600-lumen front light, this means you'll always have enough light to see where you're going and be seen by traffic. Even more impressively, it's also compatible with the Varia radar system, which warns you when a car comes within 450 feet behind you. While the alert may not be so useful on crowded city streets, it could save lives on low-traffic roads, where drivers often drive faster and with less regard for cyclists.

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Second, in combination with your smartphone, the Edge 520 connects you to Strava, an app that tracks your cycling route and allows you to compare your performance to others, especially those of the same age, weight range, fitness level, and gender as yourself. This allows you to set attainable goals for yourself regardless of how long you've been cycling. Additionally, even if you know you're not breaking any land speed records, you can set goals for yourself and compete with other riders for distance, elevation, or other benchmarks. You get three free months of Strava Premium, which provides you with live updates (and live alerts like the one on the left when you earn an achievement), customizable training plans, training videos, and many other features when you get the Edge 520. Many of our customers already use Strava on their phones, but by moving the app to the computer, this new feature saves you vital cell phone battery power and helps you track your rides and fitness easier than ever before.

 

 

Finally, the Edge 520 is the first computer in the 500 series of computers to feature a basemap. If you don't need directions on your ride, the basemap gives you landmarks and major roads to provide a sense of the scale of your ride. However, a tech-savvy rider can replace the basemap with open-source maps of the region where they ride as detailed as any map on the Edge 1000 model. Due to storage limitations on the Edge 520, those maps are usually limited to a radius of 30 to 45 miles. Fortunately, that's plenty of room for the greater Boston area, and in regions with fewer roads, you could download a larger map.

At $399 for the full bundle, this computer costs as much as the Edge 510 did, is still $100 less than the Edge 810 as a full bundle, and comes with all the above bells and whistles, along with the typical suite of features every Garmin bike computer provides: easy setup, customizable displays, rechargeable head unit, magnet-free speed and cadence, heart rate, compatibility with any ANT+ sensor or power meter, free firmware updates, and great durability. If you've been waiting to get a spectacular computer for whatever type of rider you are, your wait is over.