Garmin Edge 1000 Review

Cycling Japan
Photo Credit: Cycling Japan

Throughout the summer and most recently when cycling across Japan, the Garmin Edge 1000 served as my trusty bike sidekick. Whether simply recording my training rides, giving me real time performance information, or helping me navigate unfamiliar territory, the Edge 1000 has officially ousted my phone as the bike computer of choice.

The Garmin Edge 1000 Bundle package includes a speed sensor, cadence sensor, and heart rate strap. To make your life easy, all of the sensors come pre-paired with the device. If you own other ANT+ sensors, such as a power meter, Di2, or even the Garmin Virb, they are simple to pair through the Settings screen (you can pair as many sensors as you want with the Edge 1000).

Each morning in Japan, we were given a paper handout of the route highlighting the day’s rest stops and points of interest. For those of us with bike computers, route GPX files were made available as well.

The turn by turn directions of the Edge 1000 saved us many times, especially in crowded city centers where we would have otherwise been totally lost. That being said, ignore the Edge 1000 directions at your own peril—once we tried to take a “shortcut” up a mountain using a quieter road and ended up climbing 20% grade hills paved with wet cobblestones. We never ignored the Garmin again.

One thing to note—depending on where you live, your Garmin Edge 1000 comes pre-loaded with routable cycle maps (both road and trail) for your country. Mine was already loaded with maps for the US. This meant that in order to get turn by turn directions in Japan, I needed to load separate maps on a Micro-SD card (there’s no way to load them from Garmin Express or Garmin Connect and the 8GB of internal memory space is already taken up by the existing map set).

Garmin makes these maps available for free. You can download maps for the entire country, or to save space, just download the appropriate “tiles” for the section of the country you are planning to ride. DC Rainmaker wrote a detailed post on exactly how to download these maps to your Micro-SD card.

Garmin Edge 1000

If you don’t already have GPX files, Garmin Connect enables you to create courses (both trail and road) then send them to your device. You can do this from the actual bike computer itself but I find it easier to do online.  Even if you aren’t following a pre-configured course, the Edge 1000 comes in handy for simple navigation. Many of the trail junctions in Crested Butte are unmarked, and even with a trail map, it’s sometimes impossible to tell exactly where you are in the trail system. By simply swiping to the navigation screen during a ride, the trail names and intersections displayed clearly, helping us to figure out exactly where we were and the direction we needed to go.

On the main profile screen, I could keep track of how fast we were riding in Japan, time of day, total km, and total ride time. As we were given a target time to hit each rest stop, knowing how fast we were riding and generally how much ground we had to cover, I could estimate just how much space we had to stop and take photos (rare!).

The same data screen came in handy during my mountain bike race in Wisconsin earlier this summer. I had a target race time in my head and depending on how much distance I had left to cover, I knew when I had to push even harder. You can configure up to 5 different data screens to swipe through for each activity profile you create (train, race, etc.).

For 8 days straight in Japan, we generally began riding at sunup and did not finish riding until after sundown. Each time, the Edge 1000 battery made it through the entire day. I only once ran into a problem with the bike computer—on the last day towards the end of our ride, it kept dropping the GPS signal, but that could simply be because we were cycling along a hilly cape.

I normally keep track of all my rides on Strava, so the automatic Garmin Connect-Strava integration is key for me. I am happy not to have to manually upload GPX files to Strava at the end of a long day. In Japan, each night I would upload our rides via Garmin Express on my laptop, but when at home, the Edge 1000 automatically uploads my ride when it comes in contact with our home WiFi network.

Cycling Japan

My Edge 1000 has been beaten up but keeps on ticking—dropped a couple of times, mountain bikes in the rain, hail, and cement thick mud. During our Japan tour, we rode through heavy downpours on more than one occasion, with no ill effects on the Garmin.

Bottom Line: If you are debating which Garmin bike computer model to get, for me the unique navigation features (round trip touring, turn by turn directions), WiFi connectivity, and the easy to read touchscreen elevate the Edge 1000 above the others. I have read about many problems with Bluetooth connectivity to your phone—I don’t really care about phone connectivity so that wasn’t an issue for me but something to note if this is one of your main reasons for purchasing the bike computer.

The Garmin Edge 1000 retails for $599.99 ($699.99 as a bundle with sensors) and is available now.

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