LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – End-of-lifing the Garmin EDGE 500 bike computer is a little like Apple ditching the iPod mini. It’s a classic which would surely keep selling millions for years to come. But the new EDGE 510 is as odd a replacement as the iPod nano, only it’s bigger, not smaller.
The EDGE 510 keeps all that’s good about the 500 – long battery life; a rugged case; almost infinite customization – and adds to it. The buttons are replaced by a resistive touch screen, the GPS is joined by GLONASS, and the inclusion of Bluetooth lets you upload direct to your iPhone.
There’s also a physical tweak for mountain bikers, and even hikers. You can now attach a tether to act as a safety belt should the mount fail, or just to hang it from your clothing.
But the biggest difference, among a slew of additions, is the Bluetooth radio, No longer do you need to connect to a computer to upload your data – you can just have the 510 talk direct to an iPhone and auto-send new ride data. Thus, you could pack a solar panel for charging and go on a bike tour, tracking your route and stats with no computer required.
The connection works both ways, too. You can let people track your progress – live – on the web as you ride, and the EDGE itself can pull in weather data from your iPhone (or Android phone).
I have an EDGE 500 and it’s great, apart from its clunky menus and reliance on a USB connection to my Mac. Will I be upgrading to the 510 anytime soon? Nope. The 500 is an appliance that just works. Why mess with that?