Cycling computers have always been handy gadgets for any rider to have mounted on their handlebars, allowing them to track speed, distance traveled, and time in the saddle all at a glance. But if the latest offering from Garmin is any indication, today’s bike computers can do so much more than that, helping cyclists to ride safer and smarter while out on the road, too.
The new Garmin Edge Explore promises to deliver everything you would expect from a modern cycling computer, plus a whole lot more. The GPS-enabled device comes equipped with a 3-inch, glove-friendly, color touchscreen that is reportedly easy to read, even when riding in bright sunlight. The LCD display puts information like current speed, distance traveled, and the total amount of vertical gain and loss right at the rider’s fingertips, while also providing turn-by-turn navigational cues based on Garmin’s built-in cycling-specific maps. There is even an option for discovering the most popular bike routes in a given area, both on and off-road.
The device can also be paired with a smartphone to offer a host of connected features as well. Those features include Garmin’s LiveTrack, which allows friends and family to see where the Edge Explore user is riding at any given time, and GroupTrack which gives cyclists the ability to keep tabs on up to 50 of their friends as they ride, too. There is even an option to send pre-set messages to other riders, offering words of encouragement, asking for assistance, or taunting them to try to keep up. Since the bike computer is connected to a phone, it will also display text messages and other alerts. This helps riders to stay informed without ever having to reach for the mobile device.
The Edge Explore is compatible with Garmin’s Varia line of bike lights, giving users the ability to control those lights right from the touchscreen. It is also capable of running apps from the company’s Connect IQ store, which allows the device to extend its functionality even further by providing riders with live weather alerts, the option to track their rides on Strava, and even find a place to grab a drink or a bite to eat on Yelp.
Garmin says its latest cycling computer is good for 12 hours of use — with GPS tracking turned on — before the device will need a recharge. It is expected to begin shipping in the next few weeks at a price of $250. Watch Garmin’s website for updates on availability.