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Cycle Computers

In May 2009 I bought my first bicycle.  A Trek FX7.5.  Before long the data geek in me was on the hunt for a cycle computer, so I could track speed and distance.  The gadget geek in me narrowed my search down to SpeedTrap compatible models.

SpeedTrap is the Trek / Bontrager name for the ANT+ 2.4 GHz digital wireless speed sensor that fits into a recess in the fork leg of the FX7.5 and other models in the Trek Range.  The Trek Incite 8i was my first cycle computer.

trek-incite-8i

Photograph courtesy of Evans Cycles

In January 2010 I got my first road bike.  I needed another cycle computer to go with it, because the Easton EC90 SLX fork on my new bike didn’t have a SpeedTrap mount.

By that time I was riding farther afield, and had already gotten lost a few times.  So a GPS-enabled device with mapping seemed like a good idea.  DC Rainmaker’s excellent in-depth review of the Garmin Edge 705 convinced me to break out my credit card and get one.

Garmin Edge 705

Fast forward to the end of 2016.  Cycle computer technology has, along with the technology in most consumer electronics, progressed by leaps and bounds since 2009. Today’s cycle computers have touch screens, are Bluetooth and wifi enabled, receive GLONASS as well as GPS signals, function as remote controls for certain lights and cameras, display missed phone call and text notifications, and do a host of other things that the Edge 705 is incapable of.

My Edge 705 is more than five years old.  It still works well, apart from the occasional spontaneous shut down, which I think I cured recently by doing a hard reset.  My Edge 705 does, however, show its vintage everytime I have to tether it to a PC via a USB cable to download ride data to Garmin Connect and Strava.  Newer devices do that wirelessly.

A more serious problem is ever-shortening battery life.  I had taken to carrying a power bank on longer rides.

The DC Rainmaker website was again my source for reviews of potential replacements for my Edge 705.  The Edge 820 is the latest Garmin offering, and DC Rainmaker’s preview post made it an appealing option.  Appealing, that is, until a trickle of negative comments from early buyers turned into a deluge.

garmin-edge-820

Photograph courtesy of Garmin

There were too many issues with the Edge 820 for my liking.  So I decided to buy a Garmin Edge 1000.  That model came out almost three years ago, but firmware updates have given the Edge 1000 most, if not all, of the capabilities of the Edge 820.  And three years should have been enough time for Garmin to flush all the bugs out of the Edge 1000.

garmin-edge-1000

Photograph courtesy of Cycle Solutions

Some people complain about the size of the Edge 1000.  At 58.0 x 112.0 x 20.0 mm (2.3″ x 4.4″ x 0.8″), it is not a svelte unit.  But those dimensions give the Edge 1000 a 30% larger display than the Edge 820, which in turn has a slightly bigger display than the Edge 705.  A key consideration, given the age of my eyes.

In November 2016 I went shopping online, and found the best deal at Bike Tires Direct.  34% off the RRP.  An Edge 1000 was soon on its way to me.

My excitement upon the unit’s arrival was quickly extinguished when it crashed and died during initial setup.  I was left with a paperweight.  A major bummer.

A visit to AECO Technologies, the authorized Garmin distributor for Malaysia, did not immediately solve the problem.  The unit would have to be sent to Taiwan for repair, at my expense.  Garmin does not provide a world-wide warranty for the Edge 1000, so I would have to foot the bill for shipping and repairs.

garmin-edge-1000-repair-cost

 

The alternative was for me to send the unit back to Bike Tires Direct in the United States, where the unit may have been repaired under warranty.  I decided to swallow the cost and work face-to-face with AECO Technologies folk, rather than communicate via emails and telephone calls to Bike Tires Direct and Garmin in the United States.

Anyway, the cost to send the unit to Taiwan for repair was slightly less than what I had saved via the discount I received from Bike Tires Direct.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Six weeks later AECO called to say that the Edge 1000 was back.  It turned out to be a new unit, so there must have been something seriously wrong with the unit that failed.

Happily I had no problems setting up the replacement unit.  And it is working perfectly.

It is, however, going to take me some time to decide on my preferred layouts for all the data screens.  With the Edge 1000 you can have five data screens per activity profile, with each screen containing up to ten data fields.  You also have a map page, a compass page, an elevation chart page, the lap summary page, and the virtual partner page.  Each of those special pages allows you to specify two additional data fields on them.

And the list of data fields to choose from is extensive.

garmin-edge-1000-data-fields

Table courtesy of DC Rainmaker

If you set up the maximum of ten activity profiles, you could have up to fifty data screens and fifty special pages to manage.  With a total of six hundred data fields.  Talk about overload!

That is all too much for me.  I deleted all but one activity profile.  For the time being I have turned off two of the five data screens, and three of the five special pages.

If managing activity profiles doesn’t take up enough of your time, you can fritter more time away by going online to the Garmin Connect IQ Store.  You can spend hours scrolling through the Applications, Data Fields and Widgets available there.

This is my favourite data screen layout – for now anyway.  My EDGE is a customizable Data Field downloaded from the Connect IQ Store.  This one data field takes up an entire data screen, but it contains multiple data items which are user selectable.  The analog speedometer is particularly cool.

garmin-edge-1000-screen

A final note.

I own two Edge 705s (it’s a long story).  On one unit, some of the threaded plastic holes, where the screws holding the case together are inserted, have cracked.  So four of the six screws are missing.  Garmin no longer stocks spare parts for the Edge 705.  Not even replacement screws.  The advice from a technician at AECO is to use the damaged Edge 705 as the donor of spare parts, as needed, for the other unit.

Fortunately, replacement batteries for the Edge 705 are available from a number of online vendors.  I bought one from BatteryShip.com.  It was simple to install.

garmin-edge-705-replacement-battery

Photograph courtesy of BatteryShip

Now have a rejuvenated Edge 705 as a backup for my Edge 1000.  For which replacement batteries are also available.  Contrary to what AECO told me about the Edge 1000 battery being non-replaceable.

A final final note.

Don’t get me started on the 36 hour battery life of Bryton cycle computers.

 

About alchemyrider

I left Malaysia in 2008 as a non-cyclist. I am back home now with two road bikes and all the paraphernalia that goes with being addicted to cycling.

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