Opinionated World

Gear

Preliminary Review Of The Garmin Edge 705

The Garmin Edge 705 GPS Bike Computer was released in late 2007 and was replaced in the latter half of 2010, having been at the top of it’s category for three long years.

The 705 offers users a plethora of features, most of which I’ll detail below. The main draw to this model are the maps and turn by turn navigation. It has support for Heart-Rate, Cadence and Power monitors. Virtual partner and the ability to compete against previous courses are two brilliant features that I’ll be making good use of.

Being able to compete against your previous rides is a huge bonus for me. Lacking a computer, I’ve been cycling without targets – but rather comparing previous bests after uploading my iPhone Runkeeper data after I’ve completed the ride. Using this feature on the 705 allows me to train against myself which gives an element of competition to every ride. Now I can see when I’ve slowed, see in real-time where I’ve improved and continually try and up my game, improve my fitness and beat my previous bests. Usually I prefer to ride with a partner, I find it more enjoyable and easier to push myself. However, now I’ll essentially be competing against a ghost-bike rather than another person, which means solo rides are no longer as boring!

My previous cycling computers were very basic, displaying only a small amount of information – speed, distance, max speed, total distance and time. Now I’m equipped with the 705, I’m able to customise what I want to see and remove what I don’t. Bearing, for example, is something I will never use so instead I put in place a different data field. The main fields I use will be – Speed, Distance, Calories, Cadence and Heart Rate. All of which are on Page 1. For page two I’ve selected Heading, Max Speed (always loved this!), Elevation, Grade, Time, Time of Day and Paused Time.

Garmin data fields.

Garmin data fields.

Unfortunately, only a basemap weighing in at a miniscule 7mb is included with the 705. Rendering maps and navigation essentially useless until you purchase a map pack through Garmin. There are alternatives, free ones – like OpenStreetMaps but they’re not as detailed. The first problem users will hit is the price tag of the maps. City Navigator Europe, for example, is £99. You can get a direct download, one on a DVD or one already on a Micro SD card you can simply slot in. The latter being more convenient of course, but the DVD more useful. If you lose the Micro SD, you’ll need to buy another entire map pack. Buying your own SD card and using the DVD install is far better and gave me peace of mind that if the SD card was lost, I could simply replace it and re-install the maps from the DVD.

The install was straight forward and now my 705 is equipped with a full map pack. I can now see the road I live on! Still, this thing is nowhere near as detailed as a car satnav or it’s replacement – the Edge 800. While the display is great for numbers and general data, it’s small resolution hinders it when using the maps. Still, we’re not asking for HD quality images, it’s designed to get us from A-B without getting lost.

Satellites are found quickly, even when inside. I did my first test on a quick walk up to the high street with disappointing results. I imported the data into my computer to find my average walking speed was 9mph and I’d completed 1.45 miles. In reality, I walk at about 4mph and I’d probably walked half a mile or so. There were lots of spikes on the plotted route. I’m unsure if this is because the high street is built up, or if I didn’t give it enough time to find a satellite when I began. Or if stopping at the bank for a number of minutes caused this problem. Auto pause and resume were on though, so it shouldn’t have been plotting any route while I was inside.

I’m hoping that my first ride and first proper test of the 705 will make me less concerned. I’d be gutted to have this happen every time because it ruins the entire data collection from the ride. I’m sure it will be fine. Fingers crossed.


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