Garmin Wants Cyclists to Have an Edge…the Edge 500

Garmin Edge 500

GPS maker Garmin might be best-known for its series of personal and in-vehicle GPS devices, but the company has been making efforts to bring GPS technology to a number of other markets, particularly sports enthusiasts. Garmin’s latest GPS-enhanced sports gadget is the Edge 500, a lightweight cycling computer designed to help cyclinsts monitor their performance, track their routes, share their progress and favorite rides with others, and track all sorts of information, including distance, time, elevation, location, heart rate, and calories burned. And, oddly enough for a GPS-enabled device? No maps. None at all.

“Using feedback from the best focus group imaginable—the Pro Tour cyclists of Team Garmin—Slipstream, we’ve developed a lightweight cycling computer that’s powerful enough for the pros yet simple enough for beginners,” said Garmin’s VP for worldwide sales Dan Bartel, in a statement. “Sitting sleek and snug on a redesigned handlebar mount, Edge 500 streamlines your cycling statistics for a fraction of the cost of comparable head units.”

The Edge 500 is designed to be used with a Garmin heart rate monitor, so the device can track even minute changes in a cyclist’s heart rate and better calculate the number of calories expended. The Edge 500 also ties in with third-party ANT+-enabled power meters to calculate users’ power output (calculated in Watts, because if there’s one thing cyclists are good for in an apocalypse it’s pedaling stationary biked hooked up to generators, and it’s good to know who your power-producers are ahead of time!). When users have finished their rides, they can hook the Edge 500 to a computer via USB to analyze their performance, and tap into Garmin Connect to share their ride data and compare their results with others—the service shows charts and graphs, along with topographic and map representations of rides, and users can tap into Google Earth as well.

The Edge 500 weighs just two ounces, and can easily be transferred between bikes. It should be available in the fourth quarter of 2009, with a suggested price of $249.99, or $349.99 with a heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor.