Recently, when it comes to cycling, bike radars have become a complementary device.
Giving you all the statistics you need while cycling, these devices help you assess your rides better.
The popularity of the bike radar has brought much fame to the American GPS manufacturers like Garmin.
Their Edge 500 model bike radar has been a fan favorite since it got out. But with improvements, they have recently introduced the Garmin 520, which sets the bar even higher for bike radars.
If you match up the Garmin 500 and 520, it might be a difficult choice to make, given the similarities they both have.
Today, we will be comparing the two in order to help you make a more sound decision.
Garmin 500 vs 520 Comparison of 2023
Garmin Edge 500
Built for action-packed races, the Garmin 500 comes with tons of features that fit into a compact body.
With an astonishing weight of just 2 oz (56.7 grams), this bike radar preserves the aesthetics of your bike and doesn’t add to the weight either.
Let’s talk about the post-cycling data this little device can store. With its high-performance data storage capabilities and sensors, the Garmin 500 will store anything from distance, speed, elevation, and even location!
What’s more, it features an ANT+ heart rate monitor, along with a power meter. The collective data combination of all these variables gives you an in-depth look at your bike ride.
With accurate stats, you can easily analyze your ride and make changes accordingly.
By tracking the rate of your heartbeat, this little device will use that data to compute the rate of your burnt calories as well. This data is very valuable for fitness enthusiasts.
It will enable you to train yourself at a set heart-rate zone to give you the best results; also, you can compare your readings with the past data for comparison.
Bike radars are devices you might not want to attach to your bike at all times.
When you’re going for a light cycling session or short distances, you wouldn’t want data for post-ride analysis.
In such cases, the Garmin 500 saves you a lot of trouble with its easy to attach feature.
With a simple quarter turn, you can easily install this low profile device on the stem or the handlebars of your bike.
Simply power it on and connect it to the GPS satellite, and you’re ready to go!
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Garmin Edge 520
Successor to the Edge 500 model, the Garmin 520 undoubtedly bags a high number of new features within itself.
With its Strava live segments, this bike radar makes your bike ride intuitive and immersive.
We must talk about the innovation Garmin has introduced into the world of bike radars.
The Edge 520 is the first bike radar which is compatible with Strava’s live segments.
This gives you real-life challenges for you to beat and also allows you to compete with other people online.
And if you thought thatâ€™s where it ends, we havenâ€™t even started on the free 2 month trial period of Strava you receive.
The premium membership will enable you to sync your 520 for live feedback on the go. So, get out there and compete with the world!
This nifty little device gives you loads of flexibility when it comes to connectivity.
Rather than just being a personal device for tracking your rides, the Garmin 520 enables you to go online with your statistics.
Paired with your phone and the Garmin Connect Mobile application, you open yourself to a world of new possibilities.
The app allows you to upload your ride stats and plan rides with others in the Garmin community to give a more immersive experience.
What makes this device stand out is its ability to use the data it collects and produce newer sets of useful data.
While other devices would at max compute the calories burnt from your heartbeat rate, the Garmin 520 can even get your VO2 maximum estimate.
The VO2 max estimate refers to the optimum level at which your body can use up oxygen most efficiently.
This data can also be used to figure out your recovery time before you attempt to ride again.
Related Guide: Garmin Edge Explore and edge 530 comparison
Garmin Edge 500 or Garmin Edge 520 Bike GPS Computer
Now that you have a good idea about the offerings of both the 500 and the 520 model, let’s compare them side by side.
When it comes to having a sleek design, the 520 bags a win. But if youâ€™re someone that prefers a compact and light form factor, then the edge 500 would be more appropriate for you.
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Screen Size and Display Type
The Garmin 500 features a display much like a digital watch, whereas the 520 has a colorful LCD display, which aids visibility during day time.
When compared in terms of screen size, the 500 model is smaller, and the data displayed are more congested than the 520.
The 520 model gives you more flexibility by enabling you to connect the device with your phone.
This gives you alerts and notifications on your smartphone rather than the device itself.
The 500 model, however, does not connect to your phone and is a standalone device that can only be plugged into your computer via USB.
Type of Data Collected
The Garmin 520 will collect almost all the variable data just like the 500 model stores and a little bit more such as distance, heart rate, and calories burnt.
Additionally, it will display your recovery time and VO2 max estimates, which the 500 model does not have.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Garmin Edge 500 Support Bluetooth connectivity?
No, it doesn’t. The Garmin edge 500 does not support any sort of mobile connectivity features, and it only allows you to connect to your computer via USB.
Does the Garmin 500 display have backlit functionalities?
During the day, you will rarely require the light, but at night pressing the power button or any other button will turn on the backlight.
Can the bike radars be used for running or hiking?
Yes, they can. However, the units of speed would be in km/h or miles per hour.
Does the Garmin 520 track speed with the speed sensor?
No, it doesn’t, rather it uses the GPS signal when you’re outdoors. But in indoor conditions, you will need the speed sensor.
Is it possible to use multiple heart rate monitors with the bike radars?
The Garmin devices are only compatible with ANT+ devices, so only those heart rate monitors would work with your device.
It is quite difficult to pick a clear winner when it comes to the Garmin 500 or 520 matchup.
The 520 definitely packs more attractive bonus features like the colored display but at a higher price point. So, if you don’t have budget constraints, you should opt for the 520.