When I first started riding road bikes seriously, I was a full-fledged Fred. I hopped on a borrowed road bike, put on some ill-fitting spandex shorts, and decided that riding 60 miles in one day was a simple task that any former athlete could accomplish with no problem. Unfortunately, the bike is extremely difficult and I spent the day wishing for a steak sandwich to show up in front of me. Instead, I borrowed a few chocolate chip Clif bars and limped to the line with a newfound respect for Tour de France athletes.
Much to the chagrin of my most responsible and balanced friends, that brutal day on the bike wasn’t going to deter me – the inherent pain of cycling had me addicted. I quickly bought my first road bike, bought clipless pedals and never looked back.
That was over 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve owned at least four road bikes, several mountain bikes, and three or four commuter bikes. I’ve ridden my local century, competed in Leadville 100 qualifying races, and even taken a steam train in a Grand Canyon race in Williams, Arizona. The one piece of equipment I’ve always used over the years? A GPS unit. After all these years and a handful of GPS bike computers, I’ve finally found the ultimate GPS unit for cycling – the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar.
A GPS unit or bike computer is essential for getting the most out of training and racing on the bike, providing essential stats that not only help you track your time and distance, but also ensure that you know your heart rate, your cadence, your effort and much more. After. The Garmin Edge 1040 has covered all that and more, making it the last unit you’re likely to want to buy. After several kilometers together, here is what I think.
What’s good about the Edge 1040 Solar
Every cycling stat counts
As I mentioned before, I’m an avid biker at this point. If there is a data point to mine, I want to see it and I want to use it. The Garmin Edge 1040 provides all the cycling minutiae I seek and, admittedly, even some that I don’t. Use Bluetooth to connect a power meter and heart rate monitor and Edge can do the rest. It’s capable of distilling hard data into digestible information that’s easily monitored and actionable, both on the go and after you’ve completed your ride. My favorite adjacent data feature on the Garmin is the multitude of options when it comes to customizing your activity profiles. You can choose from dozens of data points to display during your ride, meaning you have everything you need to know right at your fingertips.
Garmin Solar is the real deal
I never have to charge this thing. Ok, not never, but very rarely. Once you’ve fully charged it, you can walk away and let the sun do the rest. Since you mount the Edge on or in front of your handlebars, it pretty much always soaks up the sun’s rays, which means you get consistent power. The result is up to 180 hours of battery life when using the lowest GPS setting and 45 hours when using the most demanding GPS setting. I’m not sure about you, but few of my rides last longer than 45 hours. If you like to do ultra hikes or bike trips, you can go without a charger and be sure that you will have enough battery to arrive at your destination without problems.
Turn-by-turn navigation is a game-changer
I tried using turn-by-turn navigation and mapping on my previous devices, but it was always a hassle to download routes, update maps, and make sure I got to the end of it. good direction. As a result, I was always forced to rely on my phone for directions. With the Edge 1040, however, you get a colorful 3.5-inch display that, when paired with a preloaded route, gets you where you need to go without a hitch. Your next turn is displayed ahead of time, saving you the hassle of slamming the brakes at the last second when trying to carve the corner into that hard right-hander you weren’t ready for.
What’s Not Good About the Edge 1040 Solar
It is complicated
I love having endless features on my GPS device. It does mean, however, that setup isn’t child’s play. You can opt for a quick start, using the presets that come with the Garmin, but if you really want to get the most out of your Edge unit, you need to spend some time fiddling with the settings, both on the unit and on your phone. It can be a tedious and frustrating experience as it’s nearly impossible to really test out your new activity profiles and settings without actually taking the device out for a spin.
It’s super expensive
Bike computers don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can hop on Amazon or any budget cycling site and find a computer that provides the basics for around $60. Want to go to Garmin? The Edge 1040 Solar is priced twice at $750, making it one of the most expensive units on the market. Additionally, you will want to add the heart rate monitor and other sensors to get the most out of your device. This ends up being a pretty big barrier to entry unless you’re willing to open your wallet.
If you’re serious about cycling – or serious about data – you should buy the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar. With exceptional solar charging, battery life is unmatched. Full GPS tracking means you’ll never be lost on a remote fire road. The Garmin app makes it easy to transition from gravel road to mountain bike rides, letting you connect multiple devices across your stable and create seemingly limitless ride profiles. I’ve trusted the Edge 1040 Solar to guide me on easy rides through Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as tricky remote gravel rides I’ve dug out of Strava’s depths. Sure, a simple bike computer can give you speed, distance and time, but if you’re really trying to excel on the bike and explore the far reaches of the two-wheeled world, the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar is a must.