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Solar Power, Predictive Coaching: Garmin Beefs Up ‘Edge’ Cycling Computers

The bedrock GPS company says its new, solar-powered bike computers ‘adapt’ to you and your goals.

a gloved cyclist using a bike computerThe Edge 540 and Edge 840 — and their heavy load of tools and features — arrive today; (photo/Garmin)
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Today, Garmin released the Edge 540 and Edge 840, and they can do a lot. Cyclists control the Edge 540 via buttons and toggle the 840 via the screen or buttons.

Coaching that the Kansas company calls “targeted and adaptive” gives riders workouts and training recommendations based on load, recovery, and upcoming events. The Edge can also drill down on your weaknesses with training tips geared toward specifically challenging sections of courses. And while you’re riding, the computers can monitor your exertion and power levels to predict how long and hard you can go.

Oh, yeah — it’s also a GPS.

Even if I wanted as much information as possible about my cycling, I’m not sure I could get more than the Edge series could give me. Besides the intensive fitness metrics, it’s also got multi-band GNSS positioning, which cuts through hills and dense trees.

A Data-‘Ridden’ Approach

After all these years, it’s no wonder Garmin’s got the GPS functioning down. But the training utilities and fitness tracking sound next-level. For instance, if you want alerts for when to eat or drink to optimize your training, the Edge looks like the computer for you.

“​​During a ride, Edge 540 and 840 Series let riders see how their body holds up in different environments with heat and altitude acclimation and set up in-ride notifications when it’s time to refuel or rehydrate,” Garmin said in a press release.

The computers do that by tracking and displaying stats like VO2 max, training status and load, and recovery time so “cyclists can see how their body is responding to their training efforts” in real-time, the company continued. You can also pair it with a Garmin smartwatch to factor in your sleep stats and other energy monitoring that takes place off the bike.

Garmin also gives the Edge series a slew of communication utilities to help riders stay safe and coordinated. There’s group messaging and incident detection, even for mountain biking. The computers are also compatible with Varia radar, headlight units, and inReach devices for off-grid SOS and comms. And you can create and share courses through the Garmin Connect app.

garmin edge bike computer mounted to bars

Does all that still somehow fall short of your information and capability requirements? No problem, Garmin says — you can use the Connect IQ Store smartphone app to download custom data fields, apps, and widgets to the Edge.

Garmin Edge 540/840 Battery Life and Pricing

The 2.6-inch screen displays it all. On the two solar variants, you’ll get 32 hours on a full charge and up to 60 hours in battery saver mode. (Numbers for the nonsolar models: 26 and 42 hours.) Riding in daylight nets a claimed 25 minutes of battery life in battery-saver mode for every hour of riding, thanks to the Power Glass panel.

edge 840 side by side
Want stats? You got ’em; (photo/Garmin)

Setup is supposedly “simple as ever — a quick and easy experience to access information, courses and training tools.”

The Garmin Edge 540 Solar and Edge 840 Solar come in at MSRPs of $450 and $550, respectively. The (nonsolar) Edge 540 comes at $350, and the corresponding Edge 840 has a suggested retail price of $450. Sensor bundles for each device are also available.

Note: As of this writing, the previous Edge 530 comes with many of the same capabilities at about half the cost.

Garmin Edge 1040 Solar

Garmin Edge 1040 Solar Is the First Solar Charging, Touchscreen, Handlebar-Mount Bike Computer

There was a time when it seemed like all cyclists used a cycling computer. Phone apps and smartwatches have tempered that trend. But Garmin’s new Edge 1040 gives cyclists a reason to navigate from our handlebars again, and not just our wrist or phone. Read more…

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