Garmin has such a range of products that sometimes the higher end units, like the Garmin Edge 1030 overshadow everything else – meaning terrific devices like the Garmin Edge 130 can be overlooked. If you want a new cycling GPS this summer, you need to check out this unit!
Garmin Edge 130 Cycling GPS Review – Small and MIGHTY!
Garmin is an interesting company, not least because of the sheer volume of new products which get’s pushed out by the company. Occasionally that “product in every niche” approach can result in a device which feels it might have needed a touch longer on the engineering bench, and then you get an utter GEM! Just to spoil the ending for you slightly, the Garmin Edge 130 is one of those gems!
Honestly apart from the screen size, I actually find this little device better than the Garmin Edge 1000 from a few years ago, yes it’s literally that good, and excellent Strava Live Segments really is the icing on the cake
Garmin Edge 130 – Device Design
So a tiny device in a tiny box! But what is inside?
We’ve obviously got the Garmin Edge 130 itself; the rubber band affixed mount, a health warning card (Yes I promise I will try not to swallow GPS!), lanyard, plastic wrapped dead tree manual and a micro USB cable – Garmin doesn’t appear to want to just USB-C this year.
Personally, I think the Garmin Edge 130 has a really great visual design. Certainly compared to the Edge 520 and 1030. It’s chunky in a way that suggests robust, rather than cheap
The monochrome screen is terrific in the sun or inside.
If we compare to the new big brother the Garmin Edge 520 Ultra, when the backlights are on, things are ok. I’d still say the Edge 130 is clearer. For something like a cycling computer screen, simple is better – something Wahoo understands – and Garmin seems to occasionally forget!
Without the backlight on, things are much worse, and these two pictures were taken INSIDE.
There was a reason why the Garmin Edge 500 and 510 were excellence devices and loved by many; they are legible in all circumstances.
Carrying on the Garmin Edge 130 tour, on the back we have the regular quarter turn mount and various brand markers
Above that are the micro USB slot and speaker holes
On the RIGHT of the device are a pair of rocker buttons for navigating the menus and moving between displays. A long press on the upper rocker also allows you to access the menu system
On the LEFT is the power button,
Finally on the bottom are the start/pause and lap buttons
Normally I’m not a massive fan of buttons on the bottom edge of a cycling GPS, finding them a touch fiddly such as on the Garmin Edge 820. The side of the Garmin Edge 130 buttons and the slight angle which they have been placed at makes their use much easier
Garmin Edge 130 – Specifications
- Device weight – 33 grams
- Size: 4.1 x 6.3 x 1.6 cm
- 27.0 x 36.0 mm; 45 mm diagonal
- 303 x 230 – which is very impressive when compared to the Edge 1030’s much larger screen with only 282 x 470 pixels
- Battery: 15hrs
- Water resistance: IPX7
- Sensor compatibility:
- The standard HRM, Speed, Cadence, and Power
- Smart Light system
- Connectivity: Bluetooth LE ANT+, WiFi
- Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors (yes it still feels like I’m living in the future!)
- GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
- Phone smart notifications,
- Barometric altimeter
- Other Bits
- Strava segments
- VO2 max & Recovery advisor
- Ephemeris satellite predictions
- Varia Radar compatible
- Live Track
- Garmin Connect IQ Data fields – but no apps
Garmin Edge 130 – Manual
The link to the Garmin Edge 130 manual is here
Garmin Edge 130 – Using the Device
The Garmin Connect app is beginning to improve into a useful fitness app, so the chances are you are not now going to object to using it in the same way that I have done with previous iterations, where once I had previously set up Strava, I’d be running for the hills.
You do need to keep the Garmin Connect on your phone however if you want smart notifcations to come through from your phone,
Plus once Garmin Connect is on your phone this allows you to download and install any necessary firmware updates to the Garmin Edge 130
With the system updated, sensors are added in the usual way – it might sound daft, but I STILL find it noteworthy that Garmin can finally do both ANT+ and BlueTooth sensors! You can identify the different types as ANT+ sensors only have numerical ID’s
When it comes to devices which you can connect to the Garmin Edge 130, it is worthwhile highlighting that this is the companies cheapest offering to able to accept ANT+ smart lights – such as the Cycliq Fly12 and the shortly due for release SeeSense ACE
This provides a very effective integration between the light and the Garmin Edge 130, essentially meaning you can ignore your light, and the Edge will both switch the unit on, and in the case of Cycliq camera start recording, but also give heads up about the battery life of the devices
But perhaps even more useful is the inclusion of Garmin’s Varia Radar Support, which when I’m out for a long ride on my own, I consider one of the most important bits of kit that I ride with, it just makes me feel safer, knowing what is going on traffic-wise behind me
Even with the tiny screen, there is still enough real estate for the traffic warnings to pop up, and indicate what is coming up behind. The system with also give you a chirrup to warn you when something appears for the first time
The dots, representing the cars will get closer until they have passed you. If there are no further vehicles behind you, the column on the LEFT disappears.
The traffic alert will occur on any screen, even over your Strava read out the page, which may be an irritation for some, less so for others
Regarding screen realestate, you can customise 8 data fields on the screen – but I find that gets a little cramped.
Given the size I found 2 two be much more usable out of the ride
The main headline feature which people talk about with the Garmin Edge 130, is the inclusion of power compatibility on what is fair to describe as an entry level cycling device.
Although it has taken Garmin a while to close that gap compared to other units such as the Polar M460 – which have been able to connect power meters, and at a lower price.
There is navigation after a fashion – in that you get direction instructions, but no maps nor the ability to re-route.
In some ways when it comes to cycling navigation devices I find the ability to reroute perhaps the most useful feature, in case of road closures, or map issues, so find that the token effort here on the Garmin Edge 130 isn’t really worth the time to set up.
Which is similarly a shame as the Garmin Edge 130 has the inclusion of Garmin’s GCM course creator is interesting. Simply set the type of terrain you want, then the distance and direction, and select your starting point to generate a course
From there upload the course to your device and off you go! Which is a shame as the course creator is a neat bit of kit, just that the Edge 130 doesn’t quite have the chops to do the navigation thing properly
I think the thing I like about the course creator is I’ve found this an effective way of finding new routes in areas which I thought I already new – a little in the same way as people sharing Strava Segment challenges – speaking of which, you actually need to get out on the road, to snag that KOM!
The Garmin Edge 130 tends to acquire a GPS signal pretty much instantly – which is no surprise given the range of satellite types which the unit can connect to, including the new European Galileo satellite system. But occasionally there can be a bit of a gremlin, and I’ve been riding for three mins before a lock is made, not sure why that is currently
Garmin Edge 130 Strava integration
Basically, today, if as a company your cycling GPS doesn’t have Strava integrated, you may as well go home. Thankfully the Strava integration with the Garmin Edge 130 is surprisingly strong for such a small device
You can review which segments are loaded onto the device from the menu, to plan your next KOM hunting trip, or just ride and wait for the unit to tell you that a segment is about to be started
When you do get out on the road, as you bimble along, Strava pipes up to tell you when a segment is coming, and how far before the start
On each segment, you get an overview of the section you are riding on, along with your time in relation either to the current KOM holder or your own PR
At the end of a section, you are greeted with a little summary of your efforts, on that mini part of your ride
Once you have finished the whole ride, you are asked to categorise your ride. This is instead of having different ride profiles. If I’m honest, I don’t often change between ride profiles, but happy with my displays, so this approach is preferable to me at least. Others may disagree however
Once you have classified your ride, you get notified or any new achievements, before you get the standard finish screen
Once Strava has finished patting you on the back, Garmin then displays the cards for VO2 Max and Training Load
While Garmin is making some areas of their devices friendlier and less coldly scientific, they still have not unified their ecosystem, in spite of having everything running through Garmin Connect. For people who own a have a couple of Garmin devices, such as running watch and a separate cycling GPS each device has its own records. So your VO2 max, your achievements, such as longest distances and 20 min power etc. will be different between your watch or cycling GPS.
Garmin Edge 130 – Navigation
Navigation here is very much a minor addition, using a breadcrumb approach
You can have an overview of your course, and also simple direction navigation. You do get alerts before junctions, but this is a very rudimentary navigation feature
By that, I mean there is no ability to set a route on the device, needing to return to your phone and Garmin Connect to produce a course, or download a map. Similarly, if you do leave you route, you’ll get a warning, but the unit is not able to reroute you back.
Garmin Edge 130 – Conclusion
I’ve absolutely no hesitation in giving the Garmin Edge 130 a 5* TG award – and I think that’s a fair way to start the conclusion. The Garmin Edge 130 is just such a cracking bit of kit, and part of that is down to the price. If you are not hung up on navigation or colour screen (as mentioned this is much better than any colour screen Garmin have yet produced), then you are going to struggle to do better for the price.
The feature set covers what just about every rider could wish for, and also the inclusion of Radar support which is incredibly important to me now that I’ve been knocked off my bike by a car.
I’m really pleased that Garmin has made this unit, but also surprised as it does make ALL other GPS units in their range look somewhat overpriced!!
Run and Ride who provided this review sample are offering a 10% discount on the Garmin Edge 130 using the code “Garmin” via their site