A week with: Garmin Edge 810 bike satnav

 

Price: £379.99
Screen: 2.6-inch touchscreen
Battery life: 17 hours
Maps: Built in mapping and Ordinance Survey compatible
Connectivity: Automatic Bluetooth syncin

What is it?

A satnav for your bike. Well actually, it's more of a weatherproof computer for your bike that provides interactive mapping, speed and elevation readings, race timing, social media interaction and even a read-out telling you how many calories you are burning and what your heart rate is up to.

At a delirious £379.99 it's aimed at serious road riders (not just occasional Boris Bikers) and includes a selection of robust mounts, a chest heart-rate monitor and a cadence sensor.

Any technical highlights?

Unlike cheaper bicycle GPS computers which follow an existing mapped-out route, it uses routable maps which update based your location if you go off course or decide to take a shortcut (just like a car's GPS system). For serious Lycra-wearing road warriors there's a cadence sensor to measure the number of wheel revolutions per minute you are kicking out.

And there's also a social element to the Edge 810; if you pair it to your smartphone (with the free Garmin Connect app), it will broadcast your location and allow friends and other riders to track your progress on Twitter and Facebook.

Does it work?

There's some faffing around setting it up but once you are synced in to the Garmin Connect website you can plan routes, and download rides other cyclists have set up.

From there, it only takes one or two touches to select your ride and start tracking your progress (and recording for later scrutiny online).

The Out Front mount is a little tricky to fix securely but it's worth persevering with to get right, while the standard Quarter-turn mount is easy to fix and feels like it will take a lot of punishment.

On-the-go it is easy to use (even with gloves on or in wet weather) and to follow its directions. The biggest let down is its colour touch-screen display which has a rather woeful 160 x 240 pixel resolution which can make quick reading tricky. Thankfully, there's a decent 17-hour battery life which should last for a week's worth of commuting or a weekend of long rides, though heavy Bluetooth use (see technical highlights) will eat away at this.

Is it worth the money?

There's no escaping that the Garmin 810 is an expensive toy aimed at serious road cyclists but you get a good amount of kit for your money and free access to Garmin Connect's ride-mapping and sharing service, as well as numerous fitness diagnostic tools.

It's really addictive too and while you can't ignore the challenge of free (or cheap) smartphone apps such as Strava and CycleTracker Pro, which offer many of the same features, I can't see how many people would feel happy strapping their precious smartphone to their handlebars.

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