The Garmin Edge 705 is a great little Bike computer/GPS unit that brings data capture to a new level. With the ability to capture not only bike computer information, but to combine it with location specifics, wrapping in the wireless data capture of a heart rate monitor and a cadence meter, the Edge 705 rocks. By GPS standards, the unit is small, maybe not small in the bike computer world, but unless you are climbing the Alp d'Huez during July, you won't notice the added weight. The Garmin Cycling Team must think they are great - the Tour de France starts Saturday for them - Good Luck!
The Edge series has been around for a couple of years, but the Edge 605/705 series made two huge leaps in capability. The Edge 605/705 now offers mapping and in my mind this was a big disadvantage of the original 205/305; something that is worth paying up for in the 605/705. I think it makes all the difference. The Edge is also now in color, which as a veteran of the original Garmin eTrex monochrome days, I can say that without a doubt, the change makes a huge difference in the readability of the screen. It makes a difference on the trail with an eTrex and makes a difference on the road with a color Edge. Finally, the Edge 705 offers wireless sharing; an innovative feature that I think is a total luxury, and one that I have been wanting for a long time across a lot of Garmin models. When you are hiking or biking, being able to show up and immediately share what the route plan is with everybody there is a huge deal. In this case though it means that you need a lot of like-minded friends who also see the value of dropping a few hundred bucks on a GPS enabled bike computer. For those of us here at GPS Lodge, we think it's totally justified.
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The Edge 605/705 is easy to set up and get going. As previously discussed, I first mounted the unit on the stem, which didn't work out well for me due to the angle of the screen when I was in the drops, so with the included second mount, I put the Edge up on the handlebar, which made all the difference. Mounting the Cadence meter was easy too, and with a few adjustments and a quick sync, the Edge recognized the cadence unit without trouble. I haven't had to touch it since; works great. The Edge uses ANT+ short range wireless technology to connect to gather the data flow from the Cadence meter, and the Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) too. My first outing with the HRM was a little rough, because the connections were not great, but now, I swipe my hand under a running faucet, wipe the inside of the HRM contacts before putting it on and it works very well; again no issues. It was just a matter of getting good contact with the skin.
I didn't have the ability to test out any power meters that are coming to the market, but the additional data would also be cool.
The unit can configure to be used on three bikes, and the Edge also takes into account the rider. You put in your weight, age and sex, and the Edge uses this information in calculations like calories burned and your heart rate zones. When programing in the Bike information, you can rename the bike (Road Bike, MTB, Junker), as well as program in the bike weight which also will help account for the calories burned. In the bike profile you can set the odometer of the bike, which will allow you to add mileage already on the bike or already ridden this season. A very cool aspect is that you don't have to enter the wheel circumference, the Edge figures it out for you through a combination of sensors, measurement and maybe even a little magic. It took about 2/10ths of a mile on the first ride for the Edge to figure out my wheel circumference on my first ride. The Edge also has configurable speed and heart rate zones that can be used later to set up alarms if you venture too high in the heart rate, etc.
The Edge 605/705 has a long list of data fields to display on the screen; almost anything you can imagine, and because you can have two screens of data displayed, you can load up on the data fields. The Edge also supports auto lapping, which doesn't mean you need to ride around a track, but instead allows you to slice your ride into "Laps" and analyze them versus each other. So, you could set the auto-lap to slice your ride every 5 miles or ten miles to compare how you performed in different segments of the ride.
Altimeter - The altimeter is a great screen to look at and maybe even brag about as you can see the profile of the ride, and point out that killer climb that you just did. I wish I had this when I rode Ride the Rockies a while back as I felt like we were climbing all day some times, but know for a fact that we weren't. The Altimeter is a barometric altimeter so it can be affected by weather changes. Most people won't be riding in times of dramatic weather changes, so minor differences shouldn't really matter over the course of a ride. Everything is configurable, which means you can alter the data fields at the top of the Altimeter screen, or even elect to not see the altimeter all together when riding.
I love the map, and I will say that with the City Navigator Micro SD card in the maps and navigation are great. The unit comes with a basemap, which is not useful for navigating on a bike, plan on the extra map upgrade. The Mapscreen allows for data field customization which will not only allow you to set what fields are there, but also how many. Bit of a trade-off on map readability when you start adding fields here. I elected for a couple of key fields and then toggled over to the data screens when I wanted more detailed information.
I found the readability of the map screen pretty good; and in the daylight the screen performs well. I really didn't need the backlight when riding, more for when I was indoors route planning or playing with the device. The Edge allows for panning and easy zooming with the zoom in and out buttons on the upper right side of the unit.
Love the Navigation - total freedom to ride. I used this two ways; I programed in a route on the PC and downloaded it onto the Edge to navigate it. Worked great. The better way was that I was on a typical loop that I ride and felt like doing a few more miles. I zoomed out, looked at alternate roads, found a decent set of roads to ride and then started riding them. When I got to a good end point, I picked a point close to home and then navigated to it. The Edge was great, giving me turn by turn directions. I would have been lost otherwise, but instead I was able to add a few more miles that had me exploring and discovering new routes without the real risk of getting lost. panning and zooming is a little slower than I want, and when you pan on a small screen it's not as easy to pick your destination.
The Edge allows you to change the navigation settings, which allows you to navigate as a bike, pedestrian, or car, and then avoid either unpaved roads and/or major roads. The latter is key when bike riding in my mind; riding back roads is where I want to be avoiding traffic.
Turn indicators are not voice driven etc, that a Nuvi might offer, but are more like an eTrex or Colorado, with arrows to indicate which way to go, and an audible beeping that can get your attention without much issue.
Wireless Sharing (Edge 705 Only)
I was able to share routes and waypoints between the Edge 705 and my Colorado 400t, sending a route takes about 10 seconds, and waypoints take a second at most. You need to get into the ANT+Sport --> Transfer Data (Or Receive Data) --> Saved Rides/Waypoints/Courses pick what you are going to send, and then on the other unit, click on receive data and the transfer initiates. I was able to hold a signal up to about 15 feet and seemed to keep up the same rate. I like it, and I have had the need to share routes and waypoints for about the as long as I have had a GPS and have gone for hikes and rides using my old eTrex with friends. Very happy to see this technology.
The Edge 605 and to a bigger extent the Edge 705 really are a biker's dream, giving any techie biker plenty of data to play with, performing well in my outings. It was easy to get to know the Edge 705. I realized that after a couple of rides, the Edge 705 became a trusted device that was just expected to perform; I was able to reset the data before the ride, start the timer and take off, without a second thought. The ability to add roads and mileage when you are out in the country is fantastic; no threat of getting lost. I liked the freedom of biking with a high quality GPS that will get me home when I wander off my usual routes. The Edge 705 is a great piece of biking equipment; I absolutely loved using it. I have no hesitation recommending the Edge 605/705, and I very much recommend getting the micro SD card to make riding the back roads possible.