This is an in-depth review of one of the most interesting bike computers in a long time – the Garmin Edge 25. The Garmin Edge 25 is small, super light, and relatively cheap, yet it has most of the super powers of the bigger (and more expensive) bike computers. And the Garmin Edge 25 is the smallest GPS-compatible bike computer in the world. Overall, it is clear that this tiny bike computer could meet the needs of most average cyclists, and even many competitive cyclists.
Key Features of the Garmin Edge 25
Table showing the technical specs of the Garmin Edge 25
The Garmin Edge 25 is a rugged bike computer that will stand up to bad weather while your smart phone stays safe and dry inside your pocket or pannier. You can drop it in the water and it will be fine, so rain and snow are no problem. It will also keep going after your iPhone shuts down when the weather drops below freezing (this happened to me twice lately, causing me to lose data on two sub-zero rides that I was attempting to record with just Strava via my iPhone).
So this tiny but tough bike computer will enable you to record your bike rides in any conditions. Clearly, it’s a smart choice if you want a lot of bike computer power in a small package.
The Garmin Edge 25 also offers one of the latest cool features, which is live tracking – which basically means your spouse can check where you are at any time (if you have granted this permission). Obviously, this can alleviate anxiety for your partner if you are on a long bike ride.
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Data Display on the Garmin Edge 25
The Garmin Edge 25 is black and white. However, I found it clear and easy to read. You have 3 fields of data per page, and can customize up to 2 pages. you cannot put the heart rate field onto either of the two pages. This customization does not allow you to integrate the heart rate data onto one of those pages. Instead, the heart rate data occupies its very own page. You can scroll to it while you are riding of course – but you cannot have it on the screen constantly, along with whatever two other data fields you consider important.
Satellite Acquisition on the Garmin Edge 25
The Garmin Edge 25 can connect to both GPS and GLONASS satellites. As it has more satellites to choose from, it can lock in faster. I know that Garmin Edge bike computers with only GPS can be frustratingly slow to lock in, so this is important. It was a very happy surprise to find GLONASS on such a relatively cheap bike computer as the Garmin Edge 25. This is obviously a huge selling point for this tiny bike computer.
Note: GPS and GLONASS are different kinds of satellite systems – the GPS was developed by the USA, and the GLONASS is Russian.
Wireless Uploads of data from your Garmin Edge 25
The Garmin Edge 25 offers wireless transfers of your data to Garmin Connect (or Strava, which you can read about here). To me this is one of the best upgrades in recent years with bike computers. I love the automatic wireless transfers, which save me from having to fiddle around with USB cables.
Smart notifications on the Garmin Edge 25
The Garmin Edge 25 can display your incoming phone calls and texts, when paired with your smart phone. The alerts will display for a few seconds.
ANT+ connectivity in the Garmin Edge 25
The Garmin Edge 25 offers ANT+ connectivity. ANT+ is a wireless technology that allows your devices to talk to each other (like Bluetooth). ANT+ enables you to hook up the bike computer on your handlebars to a cadence sensor on your wheel, and a heart rate monitor around your chest. Plus a whole host of other sensors.
This might not seem important to you today. But what if you decide you want a cadence and speed sensor or a heart rate monitor in six months’ time, and you’ve invested in a cheaper bike computer, so that the extras are not available without buying a whole new bike computer?
Note that the Garmin Edge 25 can only connect to two sensors. This would not matter if you own one bike and two sensors (say, a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor). But what if you have three bikes, and they all have their own cadence sensors? This could be a major problem for those with several bikes.
Also, Garmin offers very sophisticated Garmin Vector 2S Power Meter Pedals to accurately measure how much power you put into your pedaling – but you cannot connect to these with a Garmin Edge 25. This could be a real problem if you decide you want to train with power meters.
Real-time Segments with the Garmin Edge 25
You can use real-time segments from Garmin Connect with the Garmin Edge 25, but you cannot use Strava segments. You can use Strava segments on the more expensive Garmin Edge models, but not on this model.
Read more about Strava here – it’s not just a training tool, it’s a database linked to an app, and it’s creating a huge body of knowledge about where cyclists really ride, which ultimately could be used to make better cycling routes for all.
Real-time segments enable you to create or find segments at connect.garmin.com, download them to your unit, and set up in-ride competitions. These segments are really fun. Typically it’s a very short course that people like to compete on (virtually). As you approach the start of the course, the Garmin gives you a Countdown, and then signals “Go!” As you cycle along the course, the Garmin keeps you constantly informed on how you are doing. For example, you have 300 feet to go, and you are 8 seconds behind the segment leader – can you pump up the power and catch the leader? You can choose to compete against overall segment leaders, or against your own connections.
Strava segments essentially work the same way, but there are many more of them, and a bigger community of cyclists are using them. Many elite cyclists swear by Strava segments. If that’s you, a Garmin Edge 25 is not going to cut it. Note however that you have to be a Strava premium user to download segments. That will cost you around $50 per year.
Mapping and Navigation with the Garmin Edge 25
The Garmin Edge 25 has no maps, and you cannot download any maps either. Any kind of help with navigation is limited to basic navigation help on routes you have downloaded in advance. You get breadcrumbs, turn notifications, and off-course alerts.
Bottom Line on the Garmin Edge 25
Clearly, the small, light, and discrete Garmin Edge 25 is a great option for those seeking a really advanced bike computer at well under $200. First, it is small and will not take up much space on your handlebars. Second, it offers more features than most cyclists will probably even get around to using, and certainly all features most cyclists want. Third, it is almost the cheapest Garmin Edge bike computer available. In summary, for most average cyclists, and even some competitive cyclists, the Garmin Edge 25 is an excellent choice, offering a lot of power and a stunning array of advanced features in its tiny frame. You can use it to record your rides, see how fast you are going, check on your heart rate while cycling, set heart rate alerts, create workouts based on heart rate, distance, and calories, follow courses, and all kinds of other fun things too. AND the Garmin Edge 25 has fast satellite acquisition due to the extraordinary fact that this relatively cheap bike computer is enabled for both the GPS and the GLONASS satellite systems!
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