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Are you fond of cycling adventures? Like to take your mountain bike or road bike for a spin at any chance you get? If so, then the Garmin Edge 520 may be a great option to help you improve your performance and make each trip just that little bit easier.
With the best ever bike computer, you can be sure that you can achieve your goals quickly and effectively.
In this Garmin Edge 520 review, we will show you why this device is a must-have not only for beginners but also for pros who want to keep or even improve their cycling performance.
We’re going to try to cover everything we can and hope to give you the best information about the Edge 520 to ensure you know whether this is the right Garmin Edge model for you.
Featuring in-ride challenge, FTP, display resolution, and more, this bike computer will certainly help you have great biking adventures. Whether it’s right for you is something we’re going to find out in this review!
Garmin Edge 520 Review in 2021
Perhaps, the Garmin Edge 520 is what you’ve been longing for. It is the first-ever bike computer that is equipped with Strava Live Segment challenges.
The Garmin 520 is even loaded with modernized analysis features, including cycling-specific recovery time1 and VO2 max 1, time in zone, and cycling dynamics3.
Furthermore, you can access indoor trainer2 support and in-ride challenges using Garmin Connect and Strava segments. With an added power meter, heart rate monitor compatible with a smartwatch, and real-time mapping and navigation, very few cycling computers even come close to the features offered by this device.
The connected features such as smart notifications, live tracking, and automatic uploads to the Garmin Connect app make the Garmin Edge 520 even more functional and ensures an enjoyable ride.
As we said previously, this Garmin Edge model suits experienced fanatics who follow rigorous training schedules and want to track everything from functional threshold power to speed, distance, and heart rate.
However, the 520 is also great for recreational cyclists, who may just want to track their distance, speed and get a lot of benefit from the GPS feature.
Related Review: Garmin Edge 1030 vs 830
Strava Live Segments Compatible
Being the first-ever bike computer that is Strava Live Segments compatible, the Garmin 520 updates you on your achievements in real-time. This feature is available to Strava premium users and helps you track power, speed, distance, and various other metrics in real-time.
The good news is that from the time you purchase the Edge 520, you get a two-month free trial included. This gives you plenty of time to try out the extra features it offers and see if you’re interested in becoming a pertinent premium user.
This feature means that you will be notified when segments are approaching. And since this can show the best times of your and your friends, it can help you become more competitive than ever!
Much more, this feature monitors from start to finish, and you will get alerts for leaderboard rankings upon segment completion.
Not only does tracking allow you to greatly improve your training, but this feature also helps you compete with others as well as with yourself. By doing this, you enjoy better motivation and faster improvement.
Related Review: Garmin Edge 1000 buying guide.
Paired with a Power Meter
The Garmin Edge 520 can be paired with a power meter so you can obtain additional features such as watts/kg tracking, and FTP. This can allow you to compare your own performance with your friends. Not to mention, the Garmin 520 can also assess your cycling dynamics, showing you how you can continue to improve.
Cycling dynamics are very crucial in giving you an insight into changes in your performance based on various variables such as ride duration, bike setup, position, and more. Furthermore, the built-in FTP test can form a baseline either on the road or on a trainer.
Much more, if you add heart rate, your estimated maximum VO2 can be derived by the Garmin Edge 520. The post-ride recovery time can also be determined, and this is important as it speaks on how long you should wait before you should go again.
This helps shorten your recovery while also helping to prevent as many injuries. Overtraining and cycling dynamics are important things to monitor, so various metrics, like VO2 max and FTP, are important to keep an eye on.
This device can be connected to your smartphone too, allowing you to use the Garmin Connect Mobile app that is downloadable for free. Featuring smartphone alerts, live tracking, weather, social media sharing, and wireless uploads, the Garmin Edge 520 is flexible enough to fit your needs.
So after you have completed your ride, the data can be sent to Garmin Connect and you can view the data your Garmin 520 has tracked post-ride. This happens automatically so you can plan, share, and save the rides you desire for a later date. The online community can provide updates on your active lifestyle.
This means that you can keep records not only of your cycling activities but much more. You can use the Garmin Connect when you are walking, running, skiing, swimming, and even competing in a triathlon.
This means that you can get important insights and data during a range of different activities. Since they’re all added to the app it gives you a good overview of all your training.
Related Guide: Edge 1030 Review
Optimum Battery Life
How long can you stay on the road? With more than 15 hours of battery life, you can surely use this for longer road trips without needing to recharge as often, or even at all! The battery is also included, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
Should there be any issues with the battery, the batteries used in the Garmin Edge 520 are easy to find on the market, allowing you to replace them if needed.
This feature of the Garmin 520 makes sure that you can use it wherever you go! Being compatible with GPS, you have wider signal options, so you don’t have to worry about your route.
This makes it easier for you to navigate as it provides direction for every turn that you have to take.
The GPS does a great job of keeping up, and the clear screen means you can always see it, no matter how bright it is outside. The GPS navigation allows you to set a route for training as well as recreational rides, and is one of the biggest selling points of this unit.
Unfortunately, the GPS doesn’t offer turn-by-turn navigation. This isn’t an issue for most normal users, but may hold those back who are looking for a model that will provide this feature.
Other models, like the Edge 1000, 1030, and 830, for example, do offer this feature. We’ve reviewed each of these in detail on our site, so feel free to take a look at those reviews if you’re in need of turn-by-turn navigation, or just more features in general.
Display, Buttons, and Mounts
Garmin is known for providing bike computers that are compatible with a compact handlebar, and the Garmin Edge 520 is no different. This ensures that it is large enough so you can easily view the details on the screen while at the same time small enough so it can be carried anywhere you go!
With a product dimension of 4.9 x 7.3 x 2.1 cm, the size of the device makes it ready for every adventure that you would think of.
The button can also be used easily, so you don’t have to spend your time reading the manual to try and find out how to make changes to the screen, or how to access certain features. It has common buttons like on and off, scrolls up and down, and more.
Moreover, you can always use a front mount if you don’t want the plastic attachments included therein. The front mount that comes with the device works well on most handlebars, allowing all users to view the screen easily without taking their eyes off the road for too long.
Data Display and Transfer
With the Garmin Edge 520, you can have several profiles, each having its own ride metrics. Plus, you have the discretion to customize each profile with the various color schemes included on the 520.
It can provide huge selections of data readings, including speed, elevation, calories burned, cadence, heart rate, distance and power meters, as the basics.
Using the device allows you a cable-free transfer via bluetooth, and this can be hooked to your smartphones, whether Android or iOS.
You can even view who messaged or called you, so you don’t have to pick up your phone while you ride. This ensures your safety while being updated on the latest info about your ride.
Many cycling computers don’t keep safety in mind as much as they probably should, which can cause big issues. Every second that a cyclist isn’t watching the road, something dangerous could happen and this can lead to accidents.
By ensuring the screen is easy to read and ensuring messages and updates are provided without distracting the rider, the Garmin Edge 520 bodes far better safety than some of the others on the market.
Suggested Guide: Edge 530 vs. Edge 830
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Garmin Edge 520 waterproof?
Yes. Having a water rating of IPX7 ensures that it can withstand extreme conditions. That being said, it’s best not to test this out if you want your Edge 520 to last as long as possible.
Garmin do their best to provide high-quality products, the edge being a series that’s well known for being exactly that. However, it can be worth getting a cover for yours to prevent it from getting damaged.
Although rain and snow shouldn’t damage an undamaged Edge 520, there may be small cracks or other damage on your model that may cause issues when exposed to water. If you don’t have to risk it, it’s best not to!
How long can I use the edge 520?
It depends upon the usage, but in general, it can last up to 15 hours before needing to be recharged. If you’re talking about how long the Garmin Edge 520 will last before you need to buy a new one, then the answer is years.
Garmin manufactures high-quality products and offers regular updates to the GPS system, maps, and navigation to ensure everything is up to date.
Can I connect it to my smartphone?
You can, but it depends on your device – whether iOS or Android. Your Android device should feature Android KitKat (4.4) or later. But if you have an iOS device, it should run on iOS 10.0 or later.
That being said, most modern phones will allow you to connect your Garmin Edge 520, making it easier for you to keep track of your data. If you’re not sure whether your new phone allows you to connect to the 520, take a look at the settings to see which Android/IOS version it’s on.
Can I use Wi-Fi with this device?
No. This is not compatible with Wi-Fi but does use Bluetooth. The 520 uses GPS to provide you with navigation which works very well. If you’re looking for a model that does work with Wi-Fi, check out our reviews on the edge 1000, 1030, and the edge 830.
We also have reviews on the edge 500 and 530 you can check out on our site, should you feel the 520 doesn’t quite meet your expectations.
Is the turn-by-turn navigation feature available?
Although this is one of the best features of a Garmin bike computer, unfortunately, the Edge 520 does not feature turn-by-turn navigation.
If you are adamant on this feature, then the 520 may not be right for you. Luckily, we have reviews on many of the other Edge models on our site that are worth checking out. Many of these do offer this feature, so they may be a better fit for you.
Not all bike computers may be a good option for you, so it’s important to do your research before getting one. The Edge 520 ticks many of the boxes that enthusiasts and recreational riders are after.
However, if you’re after something with more features, we have plenty of other reviews on our site. Some of the more advanced Garmin Edge models may suite you better, so feel free to check out those reviews too. We hope this review has given you enough information about the 520!