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Garmin Edge 500


Earlier this morning Garmin announced a new GPS in their cycling lineup, the Garmin Edge 500. In comparison with other recent GPS devices in the Edge line, people should take notice of what was left out of the new Edge 500 rather than what was added– and I mean that in a good way. The new Edge 500 is much lighter than other Edge models, coming it a mere 2 ounces.

garmin-edge-500Similar to most other cycling devices, the Edge 500 will track speed, distance, time, calories burned, as well as climbing and descent statistics. Using the internal GPS the Edge 500 can also track GPS position, record a tracklog, and measures elevation changes with a barometric altimeter. (Though people in our forums have recently been questioning the accuracy/value of the barometric altimeter.) Other features include ANT+ for wireless connections with other power meters as well as optional hookups to Garmin speed/cadence sensors.

Garmin also worked with a company called Firstbeat to produce more accurate calculations of calories burned based on “micro changes in a user’s heart rate”.

“Since becoming our title sponsor, Garmin has guaranteed that we have the best technology available,” said Team Garmin’s Christian Vande Velde, fresh off his top-8 finish at the Tour de France. “At training camp we made requests: we wanted a smaller device with a big screen, easy-to-use buttons and sturdier mount. Garmin listened. The Edge 500 reflects our requests and then some, adding vertical speed, accurate calories and temperature readings.”

Expect to be able to grace the bars on your bike with a Garmin Edge 500 in December… or at least grace the bottom-side of your Christmas tree. The Edge 500 will retail for $250, or $350 when bundled with a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor.

46 Responses

  1. I used to have one of these units but decided to upgrade to the garmin edge 705 which I found to be a lot better, however it is also costs a lot more.

    Morgan - September 16th, 2009
    • How is it that you “used” have a GPS device that hasn’t yet been released for sale?

      Tim - September 17th, 2009
  2. I currently have an Edge 305 and absolutely love it. Since I am considering a power meter and have no use for the maps in the 705, the 500 seems to be perfect. One question, do you know if the cadence and heart rate sensors that I currently use with my 305 will work with the 500?

    Tom - October 28th, 2009
    • The Edge 500 uses the same Cadence/Speed sensor and HR strap as other models. I upgraded from a 305 with a failing battery. No problems using the HR and cadence from before.

      JSainsbury - January 14th, 2010
  3. For the Edge models with cadence/speed sensor, the speed reading is based on that sensor and not on the GPS, correct? I’ve seen (old) reports of Garmin units reporting crazy inaccurate speeds.

    Mark - November 3rd, 2009
    • Mark – the speed/cadence sensor on all of the Edge units is only used as a backup to the GPS if you are in a location where you get poor/no satellite reception, i.e. a tunnel. I’ve used the 305 for over two years and have been very happy with the speed accuracy. Keep in mind though that the Edge units are probably optimized for cycling speeds and that you may not get the same results using an older or other purpose-specific device while cycling. No, I am not a Garmin shill, just a very satisfied user of this particular product.

      Tom - November 4th, 2009
  4. I’ve been using a Polar 725X on my bike which has speed, cadence, altimeter, heart rate among many other features. Would the Edge 500 w/ cadence & heart rate be a vast improvement over what I am using now?

    Kevin - December 22nd, 2009
    • I think the major difference is that you can track (map) your bike ride since the Edge 500 is also GPS. I have not compared the two devices side by side, so I can’t comment which is more accurate for their similar functionalities.

      Brian - December 27th, 2009
  5. I’ve used an Edge 305 for several years. A potentially great product, but has issues with charging – even with the latest software update. If when charging I don’t catch it right when it reads ‘charging complete’, the unit will ‘un-charge’. I have missed getting data for workouts countless times due to this.
    In addition, the unit at it’s best is good for only about 8hrs of data . . . Dbl Centuries, Adventure races, brevet’s?

    Does the 500 have fool-proof charging and how long will it collect data?
    Can I use my existing 305 sensors and chest strap with the ‘basic’ 500?

    dan sauers - January 5th, 2010
    • The simple answer is yes, I have had the 500 since January and the only time I have lost data is when I forget to push the start timing button on or off.

      It charges beautifully and always has a 100 percent charge when you disconnect it from power or computer. charges fairly fast as well.

      John Cook
      Ciba Board member

      John Cook - October 27th, 2011
  6. At the end of the biking season on 2009, my Edge 205 was having battery connection problems. Occasionally, after a rough trail section, the GPS would shut off and I would lose all my ride data. After some research I learned that this issue is due to compression connections from the battery to the GPS unit.

    Eventually, my GPS quit working completely and I had to take apart the case to re-attach the battery, and this worked for some time. But eventually the connection failed again, and I was never able to get the unit to work again.

    I have been very hesitant about purchasing another GPS unit until there is one available for us off road bikers that may weight a little more, but will be capable of withstanding the constant vibration and pounding of an off-road rider.

    Bill - February 11th, 2010
    • I have been hammering my Edge 305 (4 years) and now my Edge 500 (2 months) through some pretty sick and extremely rough terrain and never had any issues, so I think it was anomalous, I have read about issues with the mounts for the non Edge 500 mounts failing, but never anything on your connections issues

      Brian - February 14th, 2010
      • The connection problem is VERY REAL! I am on my 3rd (all free) Edge 305. Finally they made an engineering change to connect the battery in a different manner. I hope they learned for the 500.

        Tom - July 13th, 2010
  7. I absolutely hate my garmin 500. It locks up on courses and corrupts data! Updating the firmware didn’t help at all. I wish garmin would send me my money back. the 305 was way better… however it only lasted 3 years until the battery failed… It really stinks to do a 3 hr ride and come home only to have no data!!! I’m not happy and not so gung ho anymore on garmin at this point!!!

    Kevin - April 27th, 2010
  8. I’ve had corrupted data twice since January, riding 4-6 days a week. Once the desktop software couldn’t read the file, but the online site could. The worst was my race data from Battenkill. I was horrified to find it corrupted. But luckily, I was able to copy the FIT from the unit, as though it were a drive. The tricky part was having software that will read a FIT file. Garmin’s desktop app and online will not. I used Ascent and saved a GPX. Then uploaded it manually.

    Drag. But, so far, I not completely lost any data.
    Garmin customer reps tried to be helpful. Emailing a problem is not useful. You get a different person with every reply. One gave completely wrong advice. You really must CALL.

    JSainsbury - April 27th, 2010
  9. Does any of the garmin cycling computers provide voice or tone prompts? Can you enter a cue sheet for a ride into one or just start and finish locations?

    Leslie - May 2nd, 2010
  10. Garmin Edge 500 LOSES or CORRUPTS data!

    See Garmin forums for many user problems.


    Duke - July 15th, 2010
    • I haven’t had mine for very long yet– but so far no data corruption issues working with courses, tracks, workouts, etc. All seems to be working as expected, no crashes.

      Tim - July 15th, 2010
    • This is a piece of junk , drops info , shuts itself off battery has to be recharged after every ride of about 4 hours or less haven’t even wasted my time hooking up cadence or HR not worth the time, calling Garmin is hopeless, very rude, I have used it twice, anybody want it ?

      John - September 1st, 2010
  11. I was told today that new firmware will be released in a few days.

    JSainsbury - July 16th, 2010
  12. Edge 500 software version 2.40

    Changes made from version 2.30 to 2.40:

    • Fixed issue that was causing unit freezes on manual and auto laps
    • Fixed issue that was causing missing activities after reset
    • Fixed issue that was causing missing laps and bad timestamps in activities
    • Fixed issue causing large elevation readings to be recorded in activities that created errors when uploaded to Garmin Connect
    • Improved smart recording
    • Added a Statute UK setting that sets distance to miles, speed to mph, elevation to meters and temperature to Celsius
    • Fixed issues related to editing workouts
    • Fixed issues with ‘Repeat Until’ in workouts
    • Implemented a prompt if the timer is not reset after 4 hours to remind the user to reset
    • Corrections to ANT wheel speed, size and auto calibration with PT hubs
    • Course Map Zooming -> The device now pops up a page on the course map with the light key like is done for the course scaling. This page will allow the user to set the zooming to auto or to some set zoom level.
    • Updated the Start Notice feature to alert the user any time the timer is not running if set to Repeat
    • Fixed issue causing elapsed time to not be calculated correctly
    • Delete Garmin software update files after updates are complete
    • Updated translations


    Tim - July 19th, 2010
  13. Will the 500 display live speed/distance based on GPS without adding any sensors to the wheels? And if so, how accurate is it?

    Rich - July 23rd, 2010
    • Correct, Rich. You can display speed/distance/etc without adding any wheel sensors. That is how I use mine and it is very accurate.

      Tim - July 24th, 2010
      • Thanks Tim, then it is exactly what I’m looking for. My first attempt was the cheaper route, a Protege 9.0 wireless. It gave only 2 mm of play, and eventually the sensor became loose and got caught in my spokes, a real mess. Then I started reading about the 500 and became real interested in its features. I’m off to REI this morning and will get one with the heart monitor. Are wheel sensors neeeded for the heart monitor feature to work?, I assume no.

        Rich - July 24th, 2010
        • Correct, no wheel sensors are needed for the heart rate monitor either.

          Tim - July 24th, 2010
          • Thanks again, that seals the deal for me, I’m on my way to REI

            Rich - July 24th, 2010
  14. How do you make the heart rate display live on the 500? I’d like it on the first page that has the timer on it.

    Rich - July 26th, 2010
  15. I’ll ask again, does anyone know how to make the heart rate display on the 500, or is this not possible, and it only shows up in upload stats after the fact.

    Rich - July 31st, 2010
  16. RTM.

    Bike Settings -> Data Fields -> Choose 1,2, or 3 -> change field to any of the 10 HR choices.

    JSainsbury - July 31st, 2010
    • Thank you very much, can’t wait to try it out.

      Rich - August 3rd, 2010
  17. just to recheck… the basic differences between the 705 and the 500, asides from the size, is the capability of generating your own maps, reading maps and not been able to use multiple bikes (with the 500), right? comments appretiated

    JuanCarlos - August 3rd, 2010
    • The 705 can display street maps. The only mapping on the 500 is the ability to draw a line of your tracks as well as previous courses (tracks). The 500 can be used on multiple bikes– it can store three different bike profiles and comes with two mounts in the package.

      Tim - August 4th, 2010
  18. Does the Edge 500 record and display pace? (as on the 305’s PC-interface Training Center page)
    I have a 305 and use the average pace graphic to view whether I’m keeping an even tempo, I’ve seen no info on this feature for the 500.
    I have had battery contact issues with my 305 for nearly the entire time I’ve owned it, although I use it only for road cycling. Yes I’ve read all about sending it back and fixing it myself. I found that just squeezing the two halves of the unit together fixed the issue for a few weeks or days, but the shutdown has become an almost daily issue.
    The only reason I’d buy another Garmin product would be if the issue of the unit shutting off in response to a bump and losing/corrupting data has been fixed.

    Marco - August 19th, 2010
  19. Sorry you are wrong, to one of the posts above… the GPS only speed/distance is rubbish, go under any form of cover and the speed will drop to 0, spike to double what it should be or dip 20%, this effects the rest of the info.
    the GCS10 sensor does not kick in when GPS is weak or gone, this sensor is only used when there is no movement ie indoor trainer or gps disabled.
    DO NOT BUY until fixed, i’m using 2.4 f/w which is latest.

    john - August 21st, 2010
    • I don’t use the speed sensor and have never had an issue with the GPS speed/distance being off at all. I almost always ride in the woods in heavy tree cover and have never seen that happen on my Edge 500.

      Tim - August 21st, 2010
  20. how does the Garmin 500 power meter work? is it a separate unitI understand how the speed/cadence and heart monitor work.

    Carlos - August 24th, 2010
  21. What speed will this unit register up to please. I wish to put one on my motorcycle.I did not find this information anywhere.

    Paul D. - August 29th, 2010
  22. Ive had my Edge 305 for 4 years now and eventually decided to take it in because it was always freezing up. They cant fix it and now they want to charge me R1000 ($133) to upgrade to 500. Should I and is this fair?

    Stephan - September 1st, 2010
  23. I’ve been using the 500 since July and have been quite happy with it. Weekdays I usually do a ride that it reports as 30.7 miles, which is consistent with my old device and seems pretty accurate.

    Starting a few days ago, it has begun reporting 1-2 miles less on the exact same ride. The map seems to have the whole ride, and the elapsed time is correct (so now the average is lower). Until now the variation has been no more than .3 miles.

    It also shows after uploading a maximum speed that does not appear on the route and is implausible (as much as 51 mph, which is at least 10mph too high).

    What could be wrong?

    Jon - October 6th, 2010
    • It sounds as if its the beginning of problems. Got my 500 upgrade from 305 today. Im holding thumbs it wont do the same. Quickly fiddled with it and it seems as if there are less functions than the 305. Anyway as long as the battery life is longer and it doesnt freeze up.

      Stephan - October 7th, 2010
  24. That’s a better deal than Garmin offered me. I’ve had an Edge 305 for 18 months. (The Edge 305 replaced a Forerunner 305 that FLEW OFF its mount and into a storm drain when I hit a bump during a triathlon.) I had to request a new mount under warranty to replace a broken one. Then as soon as the warranty expired, the Edge 305 started to get glitchy. It now shuts off unpredictably with a full battery, so it is effectively a paperweight.

    Garmin will replace the 305 with a refurb unit for $79 (90 day warranty). They say they have no upgrade program for unhappy 305 owners.

    I am really doubting the wisdom of spending even more $$$ to get a 500. Garmin has not shown me a lot of love over the years.

    Craig - November 11th, 2010
  25. I have had an edge 500 for about a year now and it has worked very well. I’ve just built up an ant+ powertap wheel and I’m very excited to try that out as well. The speed/cadence/… readings of the computer have been very accurate, battery life is quite good. I have even been able to use it to geotag photos (see here: http://astoryworthtelling.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/geotagging-without-a-dedicated-camera-gps-part-2/).

    Joseph - January 13th, 2011
  26. Can the 500 stand up to the riggors of mountain bike riding? How tough is this unit?

    Rudy - June 17th, 2011
  27. My 305 also just flew off the mount after hitting a bump. Worked great past 3 years. Garmin sent a new mount, but the hitting the road, the unit is now glitchy. Just got off the phone with garmin, they did not offer me an upgrade program, and want $80 for a refurbished unit. I’d take the $133 upgrade if they offered it.

    steve - July 12th, 2011
  28. Hi
    I was 150 km in to a 225km ride in the dolomites in italy a couple of weeks ago. My 500 edge played up at home but I thought things were going well. On a climb up the Monte Grapper I was soaked through and got a small electric shock off the heart monitor ? Then I lost speed and was left with just cadence. I’m so anoyed with the 500 edge for letting me down I have not even refited it back on the bike in the UK. Also the maps are rubbish, can you get them on to google maps ? and how?. should i persisit or ebay it and move to polar ? I lookforward to your comments.

    barney - August 13th, 2011

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