The Garmin Edge 1030 is the latest bike computer release by Garmin and offers new features which are very exciting to dedicated cyclists who have been wanting more from their Edge 1000 or 820. This review will look into the device in detail, offering perspective if you're looking to buy a bike computer for the first time or if you're wondering whether it's worth upgrading your current model.
The first part of this review will be for the benefit of those who have never used a bike computer before and will spend more time covering the basics of the device. If you are already well versed in Garmin's products and just want to know how it differs from your current device, jump to the next section.
What are the benefits of using a bike computer?
If you're thinking of buying a bike computer, you're probably already a fairly competent cyclist, or perhaps you've only just got into the sport but have excelled at it quickly. Chances are you already have an activity tracker, fitness tracker, or smart watch as well and track your rides with that. Having a bike computer gives you more metrics and can also be used for navigation which will prove vital when cycling away from home.
You'll be able to see the gradient of the hill you're climbing in real time and also how many metres to the top which can be motivational if you're struggling.
You can create courses on Garmin Connect and send them to your bike computer which takes the stress out of navigating while cycling and can also spark more creativity for taking new routes rather than just always following the same old roads.
When paired with other devices such as a chest strap heart rate monitor and power meter pedals, you'll be able to get a whole world of advanced metrics including average power, FTP, and VO2 max.
What's in the box?
When you buy your Garmin Edge 1030 bike computer, the main component you need is the device itself. You also get a charger cable which is USB so can plug into your computer/laptop and into a charging port. You also get the bracket and mount that the device sits on which screws on to your handlebars very easily. I did have to remove my bell for it to fit though so if you already have a busy set up with bells and reflectors etc you may have to make some sacrifices. There is also a user manual, but who reads that in reality?
Setting up your new bike computer
Even if you're not a techno-whizz, it should be fairly straight forward to set up your device. You will need a Garmin Connect account, but if you've made it this far it's probably safe to assume you already have one. You'll need to pair your phone which is done very easily by following on-screen instructions and is done with Bluetooth. If you want to send courses to your device, you'll also need to set up Garmin Express which is also done by following simple on-screen instructions from your computer or laptop. Once your route is sent to your device, you'll be able to follow it on your ride without any additional devices or sensors/accessories.
Connect IQ is like the app store for Garmin devices. Anyone can create an app for it, in fact there's over 1,000 online now. You can download apps, widgets, clock faces and more to customise your device.
Is it worth replacing my current bike computer with the Edge 1030?
The Edge 1030 has some really nifty new features which will come as a relief to those who use their bike computer a lot. There will always be features that a device doesn't have that you wish it did, and some of your prayers have been answered with this release.
Enhanced Group Track and Live Track
This is probably the most exciting new feature from the Edge 1030. A lot of cyclists find it a pain having to constantly stop to get out their phone to answer a call, or likewise having to stop if someone else on the ride needs to stop to get their phone out. With the Edge 1030 and enhanced Live Track, you can now respond to calls and texts with pre-canned messages. So if your partner texts, you can send a quick response of 'I'm nearly home' or reply to a call from the office saying 'Can't talk now, I'm riding.'
The other exciting new feature is enhanced Group Track. If you're connected to your buddies on Garmin Connect, you can tell the others in your ride that you've punctured without having to get your phone out. The message will only be sent within your group and will allow you to quickly and efficiently send a message out.
On the Navigation screen, you can drop pins and create a course wherever you are. Although this gives a lot of freedom, the accuracy can be a little off and I found that on a 35-mile route I created, there was 1-mile worth of extra little loops that my device had added in by a slip of the finger or just of its own accord. For instance, my Edge 1030 wanted me to turn right into a station car park and then come straight back out again instead of just cycling past.
Trendline Popularity Routing
The final and most exciting feature of this release is new popularity routing. There are thousands of Garmin users all over the world creating routes and cycling their favourite trails and time trials. The experts at Garmin have taken this feature and put it to use on your device. New Trendline popularity routing uses billions of miles of ride data from Garmin Connect to provide riders with the best road, mountain or gravel routes that are collected from those most travelled by fellow cyclists. Using the improved and revamped Course Creator in Garmin Connect allows cyclists to generate even more bike-friendly routes based on popularity data.
You can add which way you want to go (ie I want to go into the mountains or not). Popularity routing uses activity from other riders so you can use the best routes that other riders use, so when creating a course your device will send you the way that other cyclists go so you'll have a better route. This also means you can easily find local club rides.
These are the features that you already find on other devices but have been improved for this release.
The Edge 1030 shows your training load, fitness, stress etc. visually rather than just metrically. For the Edge 1000, this was buried within a few different menus meaning it was a pain to find, but that's not the case for the 1030 because Garmin understand that people want to see these stats quickly before they ride. You can use your wrist-based heart rate monitor in broadcast mode to get enhanced data, but for stats like FTP you'll need a chest strap, which gives you more accuracy and data anyway.
Swipe down for more menus like on a smart phone. These are general device settings rather than user-profile specific, like battery life etc. From here, swipe across for text and call alerts and controls, weather etc. With everything on (GPS, data etc), the battery will last around 20 hours, making it more than capable at lasting for even the longest of rides.
The pause/stop button has moved from the front of the screen to the bottom to make more space for a bigger screen. What I personally found was that this made it very fiddly and tricky to hit, for example while pausing at a half-way stop on a long ride. On the Edge 1000 the pause button is on the front which I think is a lot more user-friendly.
The Garmin Edge 1030 is a top-of-the-line bike computer and for good reason. The experts at Garmin live by their sport and test the devices to get the most for their users. This shows in the intricacy and innovation found in this device. Features that cyclists both amateur and elite will have been waiting for are finally here, meaning your ride can be more accurate and seamless than ever. I'd say it's worth upgrading your current device if you use a bike computer often and especially if you do a lot of long rides with a club or group. If you are a very casual rider, you'll probably be okay with an older model or even just with the basic stats given by a GPS tracking watch.
You can buy the Garmin Edge 1030 for £499.99 from the Garmin website or other retailers like Evans Cycles or Rutland Cycling.