Garmin's Edge 810 is a GPS device designed for cyclists. It's capable of recording a journey, and all the data associated with a journey, which can then be mapped and viewed in multiple ways. We think it's a must-have gadget for anyone who wants to keep a record of their rides, and also for anyone who wants some motivation to get fit. See all Garmin Satnav reviews.
To get started with the Edge 810, you need to attach it to your bike's handlebar. It comes with a mount that can be fixed to a handlebar using a tight elastic band, and once it's fixed in place, you can then twist the GPS device into it until it locks in place. Depending on how much room you have on your handlebar between the centre post and any gear levers, and depending on any curves or angles in your handlebar, the device can be a little tricky to mount. We had to lift the mount a bit on our bike as there was not enough room either side to twist the device into place. Take a look at Group test: what's the best satnav?
Once it's on, it's solid. We jarred the front of the bike as much as we could to get the unit to move off the spot, but it remained in place. One thing to note, though, is that you'll need to mount it at a suitable angle so that you can glance at the screen easily while you ride.
Like all GPS units, this one needs some clear air in order to acquire satellite connections. This could mean riding away from buildings for a while before it will lock on. During our tests, it often took a few minutes before it would lock on to a GPS signal, which was a little frustrating. The device beeps every few seconds while looking for a signal, and stops once it's locked in. Once it's silent, you can start riding, but before you do, make sure you hit the 'start' button, which starts the timer and the recording of your ride.
The Edge 810's screen is 2.5in and contains a strong backlight that makes it visible in (almost all) bright conditions. It also contains passive touch capability, so you can tap on the screen to go through its menus and swipe it to check data and view maps. There is a power button on the side, which also doubles as the button for the backlight intensity. The front of the unit has 'start' and 'lap' buttons.
It's quite a busy main screen and this is a good indicator that it's not just a simple device. It doesn't just record here-to-there data, but also speed, pace, elevation, even weather. It allows you to save your rides and courses and then use them as part of your training; it even allows you to download courses from Garmin's site. If you're serious about your training, you can also attach an optional heart rate monitor. Indeed, there really is a lot to this device.
For the most part though, being able to see how far you've gone and how fast you've gone will make you want to push harder, or at the very least to go for rides more regularly. This makes it a good motivational tool if your main aim is to get fit. If you're already fit and you want to stay that way, then all the data will help you keep track of your training and show you where you can optimise or make improvements — especially if you're training on a saved course.
Because the unit has Bluetooth, it can easily be paired to a smartphone. If you install the Garmin Connect Mobile app on your phone, you'll then be able to download data off the GPS device directly and view all the details of your rides more conveniently on the bigger screen. The main page of the app lists all your rides, and when you click on them you can see a map of your ride, as well as speed and elevation charts. Importantly, the app also allows for your ride to tracked in real-time. As long as your phone remains connected to the device, it will share your ride live, and those who have a link to view it will be able to follow your progress.
To view details of you rides on a computer, you'll have to connect the GPS to your computer via USB, and then visit connect.garmin.com to grab the plug-in that's required to communicate with the device. You'll then need to sign up and log in to Garmin Connect, and hit the 'Upload' button that's located on the right side of the page to send all your ride information from the GPS to the Web site.
You get all the data that's shown on the smartphone app, in addition to weather details and more information about your speed. But the great thing is that you can press the play button on the map to see your ride in action. Every hill and every speed change is visible on a graph as the pin moves on the map, and you can pause it anywhere you want. It's a lot of fun to use, especially for data freaks.
Laps can be recorded by pressing the lap button on the device. Pressing the start button while in the middle of a ride won't pause the recording of the data, but instead will end the recording and you'll be asked if you want to save it or discard the ride. We couldn't find a way to pause the timer while in the middle of a ride, which meant we had to record multiple rides — until we learned not to try pausing. We think this is a bit of a drawback.
The Garmin Edge 810 GPS can't withstand the elements on its own, so if you plan on riding during wet weather, you'll need to purchase the silicone sleeve for it. The USB port and memory slots have rubber plugs covering them.
All up, a great little device that's a must-have for any serious rider, and for anyone looking to get fit. The way data is recorded and displayed makes it a lot of fun to analyse and it can also be quite motivating. It does take some time to get to know all of the device's features though, so you'll have to sit down and read through the online manual in order to figure it all out — or you could just start riding and recording and figure it all out later.