Garmin has perhaps the most complete catalog of accessories available for cycling, on-board computers, speed and cadence sensors, lights and more. The connectivity between them is perfect, each single element can be interfaced and controlled by another device and at the end each data is recorded and made available via Garmin Connect. Let’s see what can be a starting configuration for a good telemetric data collection system without even going to spend a madness because the possibilities are virtually endless.
Let’s look at a system with the latest generation computer with its speed, cadence, and cardio sensors, a backlight for vehicle detection, very important for security, and a camera for analyzing your route.
Garmin Edge 820
The new Garmin Edge 820 is a compact, IPX7 waterproof, lightweight computer cycle with a 2.3 “high resolution color touchscreen display with a whole new user interface and virtually the same features as the older brother Edge 1000 In the pack of the complete bundle we find in addition to the computer cycle with its bracket and 2 different diameter gaskets for hooking it to dumbbells with different diameters and a holder without bracket, a Garmin Premium cardio band, a speed sensor and a cadence sensor with Its elastic straps to attach it to the pedals, charging via a micro USB port on the back of the device covered by a rubber cover that serves to maintain waterproofness.
The configuration of the Edge 820 is very simple and the connection of the devices through the settings menu is immediate thanks to its ANT + communication protocol, devices are detected immediately. The device offers advanced performance monitoring such as the maximum amount of oxygen consumed per minute (VO2Max), power threshold (FTP), recovery alert, and advanced cycling dynamics.
The main features of this cyclocomputer are:
- Lightweight and compact with 2.3-inch high-resolution, capacitive touch display that works with gloves and when wet
- GroupTrack¹ feature keeps tabs on everyone in your riding pack
- Advanced performance monitoring includes VO2 max, recovery advisor, Strava live segments, FTP, performance condition and advanced cycling dynamics²
- Built-in incident detection³ included; compatible with cycling awareness accessories such as Varia Vision™, Varia™ smart bike lights and rearview radar
- Bike-specific navigation preloaded with Garmin Cycle Map for turn-by-turn navigation
The Explore model differs from this because it is not compatible with ANT + power meters, does not have Virtual Partner (to challenge a virtual opponent like your path record), does not have advanced training and training intervals, does not interfere with changes Electronic type Shimano Di2. It also does not have advanced performance and power analysis: including VO2 max, FTP detection, Watt / kg, performance status, anaerobic threshold, stress score, advanced cycling dynamics, challenges through Strava’s real-time segments.
The controls come through the touch screen and three physical keys, two on the bottom and one on the top on the left:
- The power button. A short press can be used to enter sleep mode or to reactivate the device. If you hold down longer we can choose whether to lock the screen turn on or turn off the Edge 820.
- The button marked with a circular arrow,which allows us to mark a Lap manually.
- The Start – Stop button, to start and stop the timer.
The Edge 820 integrates ABC sensors (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) that enhance the navigation experience. The altimeter indicates the height and, in combination with the barometer, detects the slope of the ascent, while the GPS compass indicates the direction while you are moving. Connecting to GPS is very fast the connection status is immediately visible on the top of the device or advanced by sliding your finger from top to bottom to open a drop down menu that gives us more details on the power of the GPS signal, On the brightness of the sensor and Bluetooth status display, and you also have a Bluetooth 4.0 connection. The GPS refresh is from 1Hz so very accurate.
Settings and ride
The screens from the data to be displayed during training are configurable. By selecting Menu> Settings> Activity Profiles, choosing from the three modes (Train, Indoor or Race) you have 5 editable pages for each where we can set the number of data fields from 1 to 10.
For each single field we can select the unit of measurement we want to appear on the display by choosing from the following categories:
Cadence / Calories / Routes / Cycle Dynamics / Distance / Fee / Reports / General / Heart Rate / Indoor Rollers / Lights / Navigation / Performance / Power / Speed / Timers /
Within each of the many available data options.
Additionally, if you are using a Shimano Di2 or SRAM eTap electronic gearbox, you can customize the data fields to view the front and rear ratios, or the gearbox level, by first associating it with the ANT + protocol at the Edge 820.
To start an indoor, outdoor, or racing exercise once the mode is selected, press the Start button to start the Timer. You can set the Garmin Edge 820 to automatically start the timer beyond the set speed, using the new auto start function.
At the end of a workout, press the Stop button and select Save Run. A summary page is displayed, and if you have the auto upload option enabled, the race is automatically uploaded to our Garmin Connect account. There is also a GroupTrack mode that you can use to display the position on a friend’s track.
Varia™ Bike Radar
A very important device for your two-wheel safety because it informs you of the position of the machines behind you.
First, for a purchase there are two bundles, one with monitor and one without, if you have a computer cycle like the Edge 820 you do not need the additional monitor as the display function is done directly from the computer cycle.
The radar must clearly be added as a device by the settings, at that point a thin line will appear on the right of the screen where the dots that identify incoming cars to your shoulders will scroll.
- The radar warns you of vehicles approaching your shoulders up to a distance of 140 meters
- It works autonomously and integrates wirelessly with compatible GPS bike computer Edge
- A Garmin Edge or a Variable Unit can detect multiple vehicles and indicate the relative speed of approach and the level of danger
- The rear radar lights up and flashes to alert the vehicles approaching the presence of a cyclist on their route
Mounting is simple and straightforward. It’s like mounting any Edge. Just mount the bracket on the handlebars or the attachment and that of the fit on the saddle stubs and make the two units rotate 90 °. As soon as they light up, they immediately recognize each other and the two front and rear white lights illuminate, such as the blue wireless link, the green one corresponding to the cyclist and the two reds of the radar unit behind.
For each vehicle that enters the range beyond 10 kmh, the rear lights are illuminated by two in two to 8 and the front one becomes orange or red and the approach of the vehicle or vehicles with the led is displayed Approach to that of the cyclist. The fixed or intermittent light mode of the rear unit can be selected by pressing the ignition key.
The lights go off to a side-by-side vehicle and immediately after the cyclist’s light comes back green. Cars that go without getting over are not detected, idem when they decide to decelerate, as well as no cyclists are detected if you are in group or who reach the unit.
As for battery life, the average life is about 4.5 hours and is recharged with a micro USB port on the back of the device covered by a rubber cover to keep it waterproof.
VIRB® Ultra 30
Virb 30 is the latest generation of cam action made in Garmin. Let’s first look at the details of this camera:
- Unit size (WxHxD): 2.3” x 1.8” x 1.2” (57.5 x 45.9 x 31.3 mm); 3.1” x 3.0” x 1.6” (79.0 x 75.5 x 39.9 mm), with waterproof case
- Display size: 1.75” (44.5 mm) diagonal
- Unit weight: 3.1 oz (87.9 grams), with battery; 2.3 oz (65.2 grams), without battery
- Waterproof: yes, to 40 meters with included waterproof case
- Memory (requires Class-10/UHS-1 microSD™ card): Up to 128 GB microSD card (not included)
- Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion (1250mAh)
- Battery life: Up to 2 hours 15 minutes at 1080p/30fps; up to 1 hour, 15 minutes at 4K/30fps
- Performance: 4K/30fps; 2.7K/60fps; 1080p/120fps; 720p/240fps and 480p/300fps
- High sensitivity microphone: yes, excellent even in waterproof case
- Image stabilization: 3-axis (up to 1080p/60fps)
- Manual camera control: yes, with live preview
- Maximum bitrate: 60 Mbps
- Expansive view (extremely large field of view): yes
- Video highlights: Automatic and manual
- Automatic video creation: yes, via desktop app
- Resolution: 12 megapixel, 8 megapixel
- Burst frames: Up to 60fps
- Manual camera control: yes, with live preview
- Night shots: yes
- External sensors: ANT+, Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi®
- Bluetooth Audio: yes
- Mobile app (control, edit, share): yes
- Live streaming is available when VIRB is wirelessly paired with Apple® iPhone® and iPad® devices (ver 9)
- High-def live streaming on Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 in 720p30. Must connect VIRB to Wi-Fi network with internet access.
- One-touch control: yes
- Remote control: Garmin devices, mobile app
- Multi-camera sync: Automatic
- Video highlights: Automatic and manual
- Voice control: yes
- Color touchscreen: yes
- Viewfinder (see what you are recording): yes
- Playback (see what you recorded): yes, with audio
- High-Sensitivity GPS: 10 Hz
- Accelerometer: yes
- Gyroscope: yes
- Altimeter: yes
- Compass : yes
This Garmin device is also compatible with the Edge 820 computer cycle and many other Garmin accessories. For example, if you own a Vivoactive HR, you can also download the app through Garmin Express, which lets you direct the camera directly from your smart watch.
In the box you can find plenty of accessories to attach your room anywhere, on a helmet, on a flat surface and more. The transparent and well-concealed plastic case has two types of doors that can be replaced as needed, one that makes it waterproof and resistant to up to 10 ATMs, and one that is used when an altimeter is needed. Plus comes the power cord, a mini USB cable (you never understand why they did not use the microphone) as well as the battery. However, the most important accessory for a cyclist is that you have to buy it separately and it is a bracket that allows true computer and camera loop on the same location. You can find it at the end of Amazon’s link. Attachments of the accessories are Hero compatible.
Use of the camera
The camera is really solid and well-built. The menus are simple and intuitive, the touch screen is not always super-responsive but the answer is still good.
The video quality and lens quality are great, there is the ability to set a wide angle or two levels of zoom, maybe stabilization is slightly less good than Hero 5 but still good. The frustration of the wind produced by the movement is greatly attenuated by the innovative Garmin system integrated in the housing, the frets feel but are not extremely annoying.
GPS with 10Hz refresh is of a really important precision and the connection to the satellites is very fast.
The voice commands present in this cam are, however, currently in English and with the case closed the software management is more embarrassed by the physical keys. However, visibility in the outside.
Battery life depends greatly on what format of video you use and what type of connectivity is activated. At 1080p with Wifi and bluetooth deactivated arrived in almost 2 hours, clearly descending by increasing resolution and connectivity. You can also connect the smartphone to the WiFi that generates the camera, so with the VIRB application you can control it with an iPhone or Android.
At the end of everything with Virb Edit you can manage the videos and add one of the myriad of G-Matrix overlay already in the software, the effect is really amazing.
Finally, the most important question is the Hero 5 or the Virb 30 … We say that they are very much the same, but the sports functions that Virb 30 are really of the absolute level.