The Garmin Edge 1040 Solar gives cyclists a reason to navigate from our handlebars again, not just from our wrists or phones.
The first solar-charging handlebar bike computer, Garmin’s new 1040 Solar is a 3.5-inch screen GPS bike computer that makes it easy to see where you’ve been and where you’re going. It’s easier than ever before to zoom in and zoom out to locate yourself on the map. The computer comes loaded with trail maps, and it connects to Trailforks, a great source of route information for mountain bikers.
You can also create or upload courses; the computer will guide you through that route, signaling turns. If you also wear a Garmin watch, you can track your ride from your wrist by pairing the two. I broadcasted my heart rate from my wrist to my computer by adding the watch as a sensor, which completed my metrics and linked them all to my ride.
In short, the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar’s charging ability adds an enticing reason to consider a handlebar-mounted computer instead of relying on phones or watches. The incredible amount of functionality now comes with extended battery life, addressing a primary concern.
Solar Charging and Improved Menus
On multiday, backcountry bike rides where I couldn’t recharge the Edge 1040 Solar at night, this unit was handly. It has 45 hours or so of battery life and around 100 hours of battery in battery-saver mode.
The Edge 1040 Solar screen, with Garmin’s Power Glass solar charging lens, gave me up to an additional 42 minutes per hour when I was riding in full sun. Even when I was in partial shade, the unit was charging. I could tell because the perimeters of the screen turned orange when the unit was picking up the sun’s rays.
In the past, I’ve found Garmin’s menus vexing. With the release of the Edge 1040, Garmin has simplified its menus so that the functions I want are a lot easier to find. It was simple to customize the screen, add sensors, follow routes, and more. When I loaded a route, the screen was large enough that I could visually follow a course while riding.
The computer also had better connectivity than any other device I’ve used, short of a personal locator beacon like the inReach Mini 2. The computer found a GPS signal quickly. Multiband GNSS provided more accurate GPS positioning in challenging ride environments like dense urban areas or under deep tree cover. Tree cover was an issue in the Northeast where I live.
The Edge 1040 Solar charges via USB-C, which was quick and easy. It comes with a pile of mounts, including a new MTB mount that kept the computer out of harm’s way, even during crashes.
Garmin Edge 1040 Solar Data Collection
The Garmin Edge 1040 Solar collects an insane amount of data, including some metrics that are specific to Garmin, like Grit and Flow, which are relative measurements of how hard a ride is and how smoothly you’re flowing down the trail. They learn over time from a rider’s habits.
Another sensor captures airtime and later provides metrics like hang time and jump metrics. They weren’t always accurate. When I had that sensor turned on, it frequently beeped even if I wasn’t getting my wheels off the ground. But I was encouraged to boost off little trail features to get my beep.
Garmin Edge 1040 Solar as a Training Tool
Although that’s not been my primary use, the computer did assess and classify my strengths and weaknesses as a cyclist to help me focus on improving. It also aided in preparing me for a specific course.
Recommended power targets helped me stay at the target output levels during a race or ride. And real-time stamina insights monitored and tracked my exertion levels.
The Edge 1040 Solar gathered fitness insights like VO2 max, recovery time, training load, training focus, and more from Firstbeat Analytics. This data can track progress toward goals.
Garmin Edge 1040 can also supply daily workout suggestions based on training load and VO2 max. Users can also sync workouts from Garmin Connect and other training apps, like TrainingPeaks.
On the trail or on the road, the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar kept tabs on heat and altitude acclimation, and it can be set to signal when to eat and drink. Swipe screens on a big hill, and it will inform the rider of the remaining climb. Garmin’s ClimbPro will deliver both distance and grade.
I could view training data on the computer or the Garmin Connect app on my phone to set up and view my cycling activity, profile, and stats. I was also psyched to learn that the Garmin 1040 Solar syncs with the brand’s Tacx trainers.
Robust Navigational Tools
Turn-by-turn navigation was snappy, accurate, and highly improved from past versions. When I visited an area I wasn’t familiar with, I used high-contrast, ride-type-specific maps that showed heat maps from Trendline — like Strava, based on billions of miles of ride data gathered from users who have uploaded to Garmin Connect.
The Garmin Edge 1040 Solar Can Help Keep You Safe
The Garmin solar charging computer has safety and tracking features like incident detection, assistance, and LiveTrack to let your contacts follow your route even when you’re far away. Group messaging and tracking let cyclists stay in touch if they get separated from the pack.
And the Edge 1040 Solar is compatible with Garmin’s Varia rearview radars, so cyclists are warned of vehicles behind and continuously capture video footage while riding.
The Garmin Edge 1040 Solar also works with inReach devices so cyclists can view and reply to messages, share trip data, and trigger an interactive SOS even when off-grid.
“Cyclists expect as much from their GPS bike computer as they do themselves, and that is why we are thrilled to introduce the Edge 1040 Solar,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales.
“Durable, accurate, and ready to go the distance, the Edge 1040 Solar is the pinnacle of GPS bike computers. No matter where you ride or what bike you choose to use, the Edge 1040 Solar is ready for any adventure — from remote gravel trails to epic climbs.”
After a few weeks of using this computer in the U.S. and abroad, I mostly agree with this statement. But, I have a few complaints. I’d love to see a more prominent, brighter icon representing me on the map. And the price will make it prohibitive for some users.
But there’s no question that this computer is an excellent value for serious cyclists who care about their metrics and route.
The Garmin Edge 1040 comes in this solar-charging model or a standard nonsolar version.