Garmin Edge 305 GPS-enabled Cycle Computer

Since Jen has started her Christmas list, I’ll start mine. But, since I am more chatty than Jen (yes, it’s true) I will present mine as individual items, separated into gifts I want and gifts I’m giving.I am not sure the Garmin Edge 305 ($379.95 ouch!) is tops on my “most wanted” list, but I’ve recently returned to bicycling and bike stuff has really caught my attention. Not surprisingly, the Edge 305 uses a GPS to provide cycling functions.

The 305 comes in two models, Garmin Edge 305 GPS-enabled Cycle Computerone that records heart rate and they other that records cadence (which for non-cyclists is pedal RPM). I am betting the Edge has only one receiver for outboard sensors, explaining why it’s an either/or choice. That is a significant limitation in a high-end–make that stratospheric–bike computer.Another apparent limitation is the lack of support for uploaded maps. That seems to be a severe limitation, at least compared to how useful it would be to have local street or topo maps loaded when you go out for a ride. This would seem to be especially important to mountain biker and long-distance riders. It would also allow a course to be pre-programmed, allowing the GPS to provide turn-by-turn directions. Having made a wrong turn during a century ride, I can assure you that having to backtrack is no fun at all.

The Edge 205 is a less-expensive version (no HR or cadence, using GPS instead of barometric altimeter) that sells for $269.95. Something I like about the Edge devices is the large, 1.17″W x 1.44″H display. Looks like it will be easy to read and, maybe, the backlight is powerful enough to make it useful at night. However, this big display and the need for an antenna mean the overall side of the unit is 1.75″W x 3.7″H x .9″D, which is positively huge for something that’s supposed to hang on the stem or handlebars.Come to thing of it, if I really need a GPS on a bike ride, I’d probably be better off carrying a standalone unit with a color screen and street maps loaded. The Garmin Edge 305 has once again proven to me that multi-function devices often make compromises I wish they wouldn’t. So, cross this off my list. But, I still need better bike lighting and a heart rate monitor. Guess, I’ll keep shopping.(Note: Runners, hikers, etc., should consider Garmin’s Forerunner products, which are much like the Edge products, but are intended for wrist mounting).