"The Edge Touring, as the name suggests, is aimed at tourers, plus Audax riders and leisure cyclists… people for whom the training aspect is less important."
Garmin recently released two new computers into their Edge GPS range: the Touring (£199.99) and the Touring Plus (£249.99). We’ve had the Edge Touring in on test for a couple of weeks now but we’re a way off a full review, so in the meantime we thought we’d give you a quick look at what’s on offer here.
Both the Edge Touring and the Edge Touring Plus are based on the Edge 810 that Garmin launched a few months ago. They have the same waterproof housing (5.1 x 9.3 x 6.6cm), display size (3.6 x 5.5cm) and resolution (160 x 240 pixels, touchscreen), the same rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a claimed runtime of up to 17 hours, the same buttons, the same quarter-turn mount system… They’re a different colour, mind. The 810 is black whereas the Touring models are both white. Well, the upper sections are white.
Garmin bill up the Edge Touring as “the sat nav for your bike”. Isn’t the 810 a sat nav for your bike, then? Well, it is, but it’s equally a training tool. The Edge Touring, as the name suggests, is aimed at tourers, plus Audax riders and leisure cyclists… people for whom the training aspect is less important.
The Edge Touring still measure a whole load of different aspects of your ride, but you don’t get the option of displaying your cadence (pedal revolutions per minute) or power, for example, setting up interval training sessions or racing against a virtual opponent because that’s not what this computer is all about. You don't get Garmin's live tracking features either, allowing other people to follow you online.
No, the Edge Touring concentrates on navigation and it comes with a preloaded Garmin Cycle Map of Europe and the ability to add further maps via microSD data cards. Like a sat nav for the car, the Edge Touring allows you to enter an address and it’ll give you turn-by-turn directions to get you there.
There are three different modes to choose between: cycling, tour cycling, and mountain biking. As that suggests, the mapping includes unpaved roads, paths and trails so it will come up with off-road routes too, if you want them.
One other interesting navigational feature is the RoundTrip routing. Say you have time for a ride of about 50 miles: you tap that distance into the Edge Touring and it’ll come back to you with up to three suggested routes with the same start/finish point, along with a route elevation profile for each. The Edge Touring also includes points of interest specifically for cyclists: sights to see, places to eat and stay, for example.
As with the other Edge models, you can use the Edge Touring with the Garmin Connect website. You can upload and save all your rides here, plan new rides and download them to the unit. You can also use it with the Garmin Adventures website where you can share your ride stories and swap routes with other people. Oh, and you can use it with Strava and other websites of that kind too.
As mentioned, the Edge Touring Plus is more expensive at £249.99. What do you get for the extra 50 quid? The Edge Touring can’t give your heart rate, while the Touring Plus is compatible with an ANT+ heart rate monitor (although the £249.99 package doesn’t include the HRM). It’s the same deal with an ANT+ speed/cadence sensor: the Touring Plus can relay the information while the Touring can’t, but you don’t get one included in the box.
The Touring Plus also has the addition of a barometric altimeter so it can give you detailed information on elevation. You can get your total ascent and descent over the course of your ride, for instance, and the gradient of the road you’re riding. Those are the biggest differences.
Ah, nearly forgot... One other thing that's worth considering if you're touring in the back of beyond and you don't have access to a mains power supply every day is that Garmin do an external power pack (£69.99). Garmin reckon it'll supply an extra 20hrs of runtime to an Edge 800. You can recharge the external power pack from the mains, from a USB charger, or via its fold-out solar panel.
"The sat nav for tourers and comes with good, detailed road maps that bear a clear resemblance to those used on Garmin's in-car devices"
At Eurobike, Garmin launched two new GPS cycle computers aimed at tourers and e-bike riders. These are the Edge Touring (US$249/£199) and its feature-richer brother, the Edge Touring Plus (US$299/£249), the latter of which we've just been sent.
The touch-screen Garmin Edge Touring Plus GPS unit uses the same tough waterproof housing and layout as the sportier Edge 800 and BikeRadar Most Wanted winner, the 810. It weighs 98g and its colour screen is 2.6in high and 1.8in wide (56mm x 37mm).
It's billed as the sat nav for tourers and comes with good, detailed road maps that bear a clear resemblance to those used on Garmin's in-car devices. Bike routes can be downloaded from and uploaded to ride sharing websites such as Strava or Garmin Connect, so social riders can share away to their hearts' content.
Personalising the setup of the Edge Touring Plus is easy and quick. There are a raft of data fields to choose from, including heart rate (it works on ANT+), route display and variations on the usual speed, time and distance figures.
The big difference between this and sport-orientated models is the absence of cadence and power fields. Tourers and dedicated Audax riders (the majority of Audax riders use GPS, we're told) riders won't care. They'll want information that's useful when they're in the middle of nowhere and need to know how strong the signal is and its accuracy, and the Edge Touring Plus provides this.
It also carries a useful function that means you can avoid unpaved roads or narrow trails. It'll also offer circular routes depending on how far you want to cycle if you're happy to go discovering.
The garmin edge touring plus uses the same casing as the sportier 810: the garmin edge touring plus uses the same casing as the sportier 810
We took it on a very short spin to take its photo, and it picked up satellites quickly. When we asked for a location with various on-road and off-road routes (we had a couple of false starts while we figured out its preferred postcode format), it automatically suggested the natural bike path route. As the off-road bike path was longer than the regular road option, it’s a decent suggestion of its orientation towards cycling.
It might have been because of tree cover, but the computer did have a disconcerting tendency to reload the route – a longer test will resolve whether that's a fundamental issue or not.
When riding in traffic, the display switched from a general map to a layout of the road ahead with a clear direction arrow showing the direction to take. There was even a distance countdown to help us identify the correct turn. And when we went the other way, it automatically recalculated and found a turning at the next junction – exactly like a standard car GPS – rather than suggesting a U-turn in front of cars.
It comes with two sets of regular quarter turn mounts and rubber hoops, so it's easy to swap it between bikes.