I have a Garmin Edge 800 bike computer. I had previously owned a Garmin Forerunner 405 which I used principally for running, so the device was not completely alien to me when I got it in October 2012.
The device sits on its mount on my handlebars and has a touch screen display. The touch screen is not quite as good as my iPhone and needs a bit of pressure. It does work with gloves on though.
Ride data is presented in customisable screens.
I bought my Garmin with the performance bundle, so it has a cadence counter and a heart rate monitor. Another option is a navigation bundle.
The device comes with pre-installed ‘Base Maps’ which are pretty useless. I use Open Street Maps which are available free from Talky Toaster. Excellent instructions to get them onto your device are available from Scarlet Fire.
Initially I used the Garmin to record a ride so I knew how fast, how far and how hilly the ride had been. There is also temperature, data and calories used and power output.
In January when I got going with Audax rides, I found the GPS a great alternative to following a route card, having to stop and look at the map regularly.
The Garmin did really well until I started doing longer rides. After about 9 hours and 170km the battery ran out. Not good. I explored external battery packs and think that a little external power supply with 4xAA batteries in it which I can plug in on a cafe break should keep the device charged. However I haven’t used it because on the next couple of 200km rides the data was corrupted. One ride had a track and no elevation data and the next had nothing. This is a PITA when doing an Audax DIY verified by GPS as there is no data so therefore no points! The next day the damn thing wouldn’t even turn on. I had a look on YACF and followed advice on a reset – which erases all history, so back up needed. This got it working again and it recorded a couple of 100km rides OK. However, I sent an email to Garmin explaining the problems and they suggested another reset and that I should update the software from the links on their site. I followed their instructions and got the message – ‘software not present’. At this point I picked up the phone, spoke to Garmin and asked for a replacement under warranty.
That was on Monday. I actually got a brand new Garmin Edge 800 with performance bundle by return of post so it arrived on Wednesday. I tried it out on a 12 hour 215km ride yesterday – all working perfectly.
I think Garmin Customer Support are excellent – however they are probably very experienced as the Garmin Edge 800 is in my experience – not perfect!