This post answers the question of which Garmin Edge bike computer is best for mountain biking. The chart below compares features that are relevant to mountain biking, across the entire range of all current Garmin Edge bike computers.
Chart Comparing which Garmin Edge Bike Computer is Best for Mountain Biking
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|Snapshot||This is a small, premium bike computer in a budget, compact unit; limited navigation help; black & white; button control (not touch screen). Compact enough to fit easily on any mountain bike||Premium bike computer at a budget price; offers turn-by-turn navigation. Larger screen. Not compatible with a power meter||Premium training features; limitations on navigation compared to 830 and 1030 Plus; button control (not touch screen)||Premium training features and navigation||Premium training features and navigation; bigger screen; free, high-quality maps preloaded on the unit. Some people find it too big for rugged mountain biking|
|Size of Unit||1.1" x 1.4" (27 x 36 mm); 1.8" diag (45 mm)||2.2" x 4.1" x 0.9" (55 x 105 x 22 mm)||1.9" x 3.2" x 0.8" (50 x 82 x 20 mm)||1.9” x 3.2” x 0.8” (50 mm x 82 mm x 20 mm)||2.28" x 4.5" x 0.8" (58 x 114 x 19 mm)|
|Weight||1.2 oz (33 g)||4.1 oz (116 g)||2.7 oz (75.8 g)||2.8 oz (79.1 g)||4.4 oz (124 g)|
|Waterproof rating||IPX 7 (you can drop it in 3 ft of water for up to 30 mins, & it will still work)||IPX 7||IPX 7||IPX 7||IPX 7|
|Screen size||1.8" (45 mm) diagonal, black and white||3.0" (76 mm) diagonal color||2.6" (66 mm) diagonal, color||2.6" (66 mm) diagonal, color||3.5" (89 mm) diagonal, color|
|Touchscreen or button control?||Button control||Touchscreen, works well||Button control||Touchscreen, works well||Touchscreen, works well|
|Elevation?||Yes||Yes, based on GPS as it has no barometric altimeter||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Accelerometer (for incident detection)?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Calculate route back to start?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Does it display the weather and weather alerts?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|LiveTrack for designated others to know where you are?||Yes||Yes, new enhanced version||Yes||Yes||Yes, new enhanced version|
|Incident detection (so someone is automatically notified if you have an accident)?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Garmin VIRB video camera?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Garmin inReach 2-way satellite communicator (to send your location if you need assistance and your cell phone cannot connect)?||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ClimbPro (new feature that shows you graphically the grades ahead)?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Strava Live Segments on the unit?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heat acclimation (how well are you adjusting to heat)?||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Altitude acclimation (how well are you adjusting to changes in altitude)?||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Water and calorie requirements (reminders based on course)?||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Activity Profiles (that's where you have different profiles for activities such as road or mountain biking)?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Grit rating (how tough is the route)?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Flow rating (how well did you ride the route)?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hang time (how long were you in the air when jumping, how far did you go)?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integrated Trailforks? (130,000 trails preloaded on unit)||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Features Relevant to Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking Metrics
If you are a mountain biker, the mountain bike metrics that Garmin introduced two years ago are going to be very useful. They are available on most of the models. They include:
- Grit rating – this shows you how difficult a route is.
- Flow rating – this shows you how well you descended a tough route. This gives you a metric to try and beat the next time!
- Hang time – this shows you on the fly how long you were in the air after a jump. Later, you can analyze every single jump in great detail on Garmin Connect. How far did you jump, how long were you in the air, and how fast were you going?
The Trailforks app is integrated into some Garmin Edge units. This means that maps for 130,000 mountain bike trails are included in the unit, along with their difficulty rating.
So, you can see the difficulty level of the trails you are cycling on. If the trail forks, you can make an informed decision as to which trail to take. For example, if you’re tired, you can choose a trail with a lower difficulty leve
This feature tells you on the fly about the grades ahead on hills, and is really useful for serious climbers. On the cheaper Garmin Edge models, ClimbPro only works on downloaded routes. But it’s really quite awesome. It shows you graphically the grades that lie ahead, as well as the grade you are currently climbing.
This is a feature that notifies designated people if you have an accident. It is only available on Garmin Edge bike computers that have an accelerometer (as this reacts to sudden changes of speed). Fortunately, most of them do.
If you are a person who does somewhat dangerous rides on isolated mountainsides, this feature could potentially save your life.
Elevation – an Important Metric when Deciding Which Garmin Edge Bike Computer is Best for Mountain Biking
Most of these Garmin Edge bike computers will give you an accurate elevation reading, and record it. Of course, that is going to be important to you if you are doing some major climbing. The exception is the older Garmin Edge Explore, which does not have a built-in barometric altometer.
Garmin inReach 2-way Satellite Communicator
If the unit is compatible with the Garmin inReach 2-way satellite communicator, you can send your location if you need assistance and your cell phone cannot connect.
This is an important safety feature that is not available on the Edge 130 Plus and the Edge Explore.
No Matter which Garmin Edge Bike Computer You Choose, a Battery Extender will Give You Longer Battery Life
As you can see, all of the Garmin Edge bike computers have extremely long battery life. Most will suffice for even the most dedicated cyclist. However, if you do extremely long rides, then you also have the option to plug in the extra Garmin External Battery Pack to add in an extra 20 hours of battery life.
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We hope you found this brief post useful. Good luck on your mountain biking rides!
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