Garmin Edge 305 HR Review from Spoke issue 31

I’ve owned the Edge 305 HR for over four months now and after a steep learning curve I’m now using it daily. It’s a tool that suits mountain bikers of all abilities. For the on-competitive rider the appeal lies in its ability to plot courses, check elevation and provide ascent and descent info. You can read all this in real time or load it onto your PC for in-depth analysis. Not only can you use the software provided by Garmin, you can also overlay routes onto Google Earth using software like LoadMyTracks.

For competitive cyclists, the Edge 305 really shines. It’s a great training tool, allowing you to set a regular course and race against previous attempts. You can also race a virtual partner (it beats me every time, dammit) and the training software lets you analyse post-ride information in detail.

With over 30 data fields to choose from while riding, I began by displaying the maximum eight fields at once (time, speed, heart rate, time of day, cadence, total ascent, distance and elevation). I soon found this to be massively distracting and have since opted for a measly five, which I still find myself staring at way too often. There are some neat touches to the Edge 305. It comes with mounts for two bikes and you can charge it either with a conventional wall plug or via your computer’s USB port.

Unfortunately, it does have one minor drawback. Being a GPS unit it relies on overhead satellites––the more there are nearby the more accurate it is––but when satellites are few then signal strength becomes weak. Occasionally, coverage drops off altogether in dense bush, and if you aren’t running the cadence/speed sensor you’ll be left with no information other than elevation. Out in the open this hasn’t been a problem.

If you enjoy exploring the backcountry and want to plot rides, or are serious about training, the Edge 305 will become a device you don’t want to ride without. I wouldn’t go anywhere without mine. CALEB SMITH

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