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Garmin Edge 520 Bike Computer

Item # GRM004S

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Item # GRM004S


The edge of endurance training.

The Edge 520 Bike Computer, Garmin's latest addition to the head unit game, expands on the functionality of the Edge 510 with the ability to display metrics encompassing everything from charting fitness levels to power output and targeted recovery. It's also the first head unit to feature a live connection to Strava, which means you can track segments in real time from the saddle. As you might expect, it features all of the standard functions included in the lower-numbered Edge models, but the key changes mentioned above are what recommend the Edge 520 as a personal guide to the extreme edge of endurance training.

With the advent of the 520, Strava is now a constant presence on our rides. We like the 510's Garmin Connect segments, but let's face it: when it comes to informal K/QOM competitions, Strava's the real battle ground. The 520's direct connection to Strava gives you an edge in that battle because the segments update live as you ride, simultaneously displaying the stats of your present performance against the current K/QOM and your own personal record. In addition to just being a lot of fun, live Strava connectivity also provides more structure to training and race-prep by keeping us constantly linked to an external referent, allowing for data-parsing and adjustments on the rides themselves, not just in between them.

The list of parse-able, power-related metrics has also expanded compared to the 510, so the data nerds get as much of a win as the Strava junkies. For us, the big star here is that, when paired with Garmin's Vector or Vector 2 power meter pedals, the 520 calculates your functional threshold power (FTP). Once equipped with an FTP, you'll be able to calculate ideally timed and measured efforts for intervals tailored to your own fitness level. Instead of burning out trying to hit arbitrary output numbers, knowing your FTP helps you stay at a level that's more effective for increasing your present level of fitness. After all, the real point of intervals isn't punishment; it's improving. The Edge 520/Vector combo makes that improvement even more efficient.

When it's paired with any other ANT+-compatible power meter and heart rate monitor, the Edge 520 still provides VO2 max estimates and recovery time guides, which set it apart from every other head unit in Garmin's line. While the former is obviously useful in planning and executing a training regimen, the latter helps to maintain focus on an often neglected part of training: the negative space between workouts. Maximizing recovery is almost as important as maximizing the efficiency of your time in the saddle. Until recently, virtually all of the training apps and devices also ignored this period, focusing exclusively on the activity portion of training. This feature is just one more way the Edge 520 keeps you focused on improving your form, even if that improvement involves low-key recovery.

In addition to the above new shininess, the Edge 520 also includes all of the functionality of the 510. It's compatible with Shimano's D-Fly Data Management system, effectively replacing the PRO Scio ANT+ head unit, and also works with ANT+ turbo trainers. It performs all the basic computer functions — speed, trip time, trip distance, odometer — and the GPS and GLONASS compatibility keeps you located no matter where your ride takes you. It automatically uploads to Garmin Connect, syncs with smart phones for notifications, and displays weather information so you're never out of the loop or surprised by changing conditions mid-ride.

  • Displays live Strava updates throughout ride
  • Compatible with Shimano D-Fly Data Management system
  • Can be paired with ANT+ turbo trainers
  • Measures: speed, trip time, trip distance, odometer
  • Displays functional threshold power and power output when paired with Garmin Vector or Vector 2 pedals
  • Estimates V02 max and recovery time when paired with a heart rate monitor
  • Automatically uploads to Garmin Connect
  • Displays smartphone notifications and weather

Tech Specs

Heart Rate Monitor:
no, HRM compatible
yes, ANT+
yes, 12/24 hour
Battery Type:
lithium ion
Mount Type:
stem (included)
Recommended Use:
Manufacturer Warranty:
1 year

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Unreliable & unpredictable

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The problem with the 520 is that you never know when it'll cease to work properly; the GPS is usually not problematic, but on the more basic things relevant to serious & competitive cyclists, like device connections and data integrity, it's hard to trust. I think this is why so many high-level racers use the SRM computer.

I've owned two 520's over the past 3-4 years. The first one just stopped working. Still not sure why. The second one, which I came to own reluctantly after realizing the severe limitations of relying on smartphone apps and not wanting to spend that much money, was fine for awhile. Pairing was reliable, it held power, Garmin Express worked. Then, one day in the midst of my indoor training season, I noticed repeated problems with my power meter (speed sensor was fine--at first). Kept getting random "0 watts" readings. I tried pairing the meter with my iPhone, and no issues, no interruptions. So it wasn't the power meter. Then, it altogether disconnected from the power meter, and re-connecting was no longer possible.

When I went to check for updates through Garmin Express, I went through a continual loop of trying to sign-in, and then getting crashed out. Even after re-installing Express this kept happening.

When you think about it, $250-$300 isn't that much for a device that's fairly complicated and in-depth. So in a sense, you get what you pay for with Garmin. If you're going to rely on a device for training data, then find something that's consistent, predictable, reliable, and easy to troubleshoot. Garmin has just proven themselves to be far, far too painful to be worth it.

Unanswered Question
Avg. ride time: 10m per week
  • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

Given the frustrations with the live segments, I have to believe that you can have that turned off and it will still record Strava segments once uploaded, correct?
Any s/w updates from Garmin that have alleviated the Live Segments issue? Or with having to clear out messages (having to manually do that actually makes things unnecessarily dangerous)

Love it!

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Amazing piece of gear....tracks all kinds of info. Easy to use, bluetooth connection makes things easy.

Great Computer

    I love this computer. I have used it for years in races and training. It is better than the old edge 500. I use both power and heart rate while training and it allows you to view everything easily and is easy to upload to any training platform.

    First bike GPS

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    2 uses thus far, both in partly sunny and dry conditions. I am only using this device to load my team's rides so I have an on bike map. Display is easy to follow and gives adequate notice for turns. I am still using Strava to record my ride as that is my favourite app.

    Unfair 3 stars based on review verbiage. When I see 3, I think it is reasonable to expect an issue with the product. None given....

    The strava integration is terrible

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    I like to use strava to push myself on segments so naturally this looked like the ideal device to replace my phone. I knowingly bought this device having read about the issues when on mtb trails so I wasnt real surprised by the issues on the trail. It was a failure on the roads as well. I would be on segment and within seconds the time display would say I was either really far behind or ahead and then revert back to some other obscure time. On the trails it was picking up nearby segments that I had starred and would think I was starting them when I wasnt even on them. The segments that it would track properly would either be dropped all together with an "off segment" alert or again it would report the time/position incorrectly. After uploading my ride the times posted to strava did not match what was displayed during the ride, at all. I got multiple PR's and KOM's according to strava but during the ride garmin reported otherwise. The next annoyance is the updating of starred segments. In order to update the times on your starred segments you have to have your garmin device on, un star the segment in strava, wait for garmin device to sync or remove the segment, re-star the segment in strava, the garmin will now sync the re-starred segment with the new times. This is absurd! your leaderboard will change weekly and you could have incorrect data essentially forever if you never do this. Another issue with live segments is that the garmin does not like multiple or overlapping segments. It can only handle 1 at a time. If you're a strava junky like me and do mixed riding this is just a $300 convenience device. Its nice being able to swap it between my 3 bikes easily and not have to worry about batter life but beyond that its just a waste of money to be able to see data that i dont really care about. Im likely going to try and return this or sell it on ebay and wait for the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt.

    I like it!

      I really like it... I have used it now for a few months and I can say it is a very solid bike computer. Mounts crazy easy and comes off as easy, when you want it to. Lots of metrics... haven't really utilized all the features, mainly power, HR, cadence and speed. Connects to phone and sensors quick every time automatically. So far no drop outs or issues with bluetooth or ant+. I really like the notifications... you can see who's texting or calling. The only thing I would say against it is the display can be hard to read in some lighting conditions, so far I have it set up with the back-light always on. This definitely drains the battery faster, about 30% on an hour ride.

      Garmin is awful

        Why is Garmin awful you ask. The 520 works fine. The buttons are awkward to use. Garmin as a company is awful because they advertise that this device has "live strava segments". So a strava junkie like myself says- Kool, I'm buying a new Garmin. They don't mention that I need to be a premium member. That sucks but I bite the bullet and become premium member. Now I'm good-right? No! Now I need to star all the segments that I want to show up on the 520 and sync. So more computer time and less riding. Ok- so now I gotta be good right? Wrong again. Turns out that you can only have a max of 100 segments on your 520. How do I know this you ask. I was on hold with Garmin for over 1/2 hour before some very pleasant man informed me of the 100 segment max. 100 segments seems like a lot, but its not. Lets say you live in CO and you have 70+ segments on one ride. Well have a seat and make sure you star all those segments and then sync the 520. Now when you do another ride tomorrow, you will need to delete/unstar segments and then add/star new segments. I think I need to add more air to my tires. So now I need to know exactly where I'm going to ride and make sure that those segments are on the 520. At some point I hope to ride my bike. I also travel, so when I ride in a new area, I need to make sure I research segments in a new area that I don't know, and figure out what segments I may want to try. I had close to 500 segments starred. Now I need to constantly rotate segments based on where I will be riding. Strava used to be fun. Not any more. I should have stayed with my 510. Garmin should not limit the amount of segments on any of their devices. I would NOT recommend this device.

        Bought as a gift but have feedback

        • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

        I bought the 520 as a birthday's what my buddy had to say

        "Very pleased. Set-up was simple, the heart rate monitor, speed, and cadence sensors fully sync with the computer."

        Unanswered Question
        Avg. ride time: 1h 57m per week
        • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

        I heard this unit can actually now control a Wahoo Kickr? And to further that you can load a course from Connect and it will adjust the resistance to suite the course?

        Avg. ride time: 41m per week
        • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

        Returning It

          Device is nice and seems to be well made. I'm not sure on accuracy of GPS but produces significantly less mileage for the same course as my handset (Maybe I'm not as fast as I thought). :-)

          If you are a Mountain Bike rider and want to use for the Live Segments for Strava I would look at other solutions. I used the device for the first time yesterday and given either the inaccuracy of exact location of a segment from Strava or in accuracy of device GPS the device had a difficult time identifying the right segment. While using it I was notified of multiple upcoming segments and would be told that I was off track with the particular route once the live segment started. Most of the segments that I had challenges with were ones that had switchbacks as part of the segment.

          Outside of segments I was a little frustrated with the text notifications. When receiving a text it would stay on the screen until I actively cleared it. Not easy to do while riding a trail. I don't need texts while trail riding but it would be nice to know if my wife is sending a note and to have it time out after 10 or 15 seconds.

          I immediately thought that I would then create a profile for my road riding that included getting notifications from my handset and having live segments while creating a profile for trail riding that would disable those two features. Unfortunately you can't manage it that way. Notifications are either on for all profiles or off for all profiles.

          I'm considering returning the device for the new Elemnt but haven't yet decided. I'm not crazy about the size of that device.

          Update: Returning it... UI just isn't well thought out, especially when it comes to Live Segments, call notification and SMS/Text Notifications.

          Competitive Cyclist was great about the return shipping me a Wahoo Elemnt 2 Day Express at no charge so that I wouldn't have a gap in time between uses on my return. Since I was buying the Elemnt in advance they promised me a full refund on the 520.

          Matthew, how do you like the Element?

          Matthew, how has the element been working out?

          Sorry David - Just saw your request. Elemnt is great. I have a Kickr now too as well. Seems to be more accurate off road but still isn't perfect.

          Impressed with this device

          • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

          I have been using a Garmin Edge 705 since 2009. The unit still works great but lacks some key features of the newer models. So decided it was time to upgrade to a newer Garmin bike computer. I researched what models would fit my needs and after much research landed on the Edge 520.

          I purchased the bundle which included the out front bar handlebar mount, cadence sensor, and speed sensor, and the device. Everything is simply smarter and better. The way the sensors attach is wonderful. The cadence sensor attaches to the crank arm with rubberized bands. And the speed sensor wraps around the hub. No more zip ties mess around with or to scratch up your bike’s paint. Installation literally took 10 minutes and it was done.

          When powering up the Edge 520, it is incredible how fast it turns on and locates the satellites. The initial set-up is easy and intuitive and you are able to set-up the data fields the way I wanted. Pairing the cadence and speed sensor is easy as long as you follow the instructions. The heart rate sensor did not want to pair at first, but after repeating the process a second time it worked. No issues since. The biggest feature that my previous Garmin lacked, was the ability to wirelessly sync the device to Garmin Connect without having to connect it to a computer and download the ride data. The Edge 520 allows your smartphone with the Garmin Connect app to sync your ride data via Bluetooth. It makes it very quick and easy to see your ride information post ride. You can set it up so if your phone is ringing, a message will appear on the Edge 520 to alert you.

          I am still learning all the features and training tools, but really impressed with everything about the device. It is reliable and simple to use, but has powerful features.

          Improvement over the 500 and 510

            Very intuitive, text/message good, like and use Strava segments, VO2 after ride important for training. Over all, could've of given the 520 5 stars, however, slow to sync with Garmin Connect, as I use Live Tracking and reading my stats when the sun is at my back, is a challenge. Garmin should work on resolving.

            Been a great tool

            • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

            I got the bundle with the additional "out front" mounting option, as well as HRM and cadence sensor. I thought I'd determine which mounting option I liked better and probably discard the other. But, I was pleasantly surprised to learn I could program, name, and use the Edge on multiple bikes. So the regular mount is on the roadbike (Tarmac) and the "out front" is on the mtn bike (niner RIP). For fun I also programmed my KLR dirtbike (KLR) - no mount though. Setup was a snap. Out of the box the Edge provides all the usual GPS data as well as cadence & heart rate monitoring via included sensor and strap. All paired and worked immediately on installation. I bought a power meter a few months later and had no difficulty pairing it. I initially expected to use the 510 for a while and then upgrade to the 810 or whatever had the bells and whistles. But after about a year of abuse in the form of heat, cold, rain, mud, dirt, sweat, crashes, etc... the 510 is working flawlessly and providing all the data I need. Bottom line is I can't think of anything that I would change if I could. Great product.

            Maybe this will grow on me, but...

            • Familiarity: I've used it several times

            I wanted to love the new 520, but can't. At least not yet. Maybe it will get easier to use with time. I made the same progression that most of you did -- 500, then the 510, and now the 520. I made the mistake of running right out and buying it once I saw that it was out, assuming it would be the holy grail since they had a few years to work on it. Some of the nice stuff - bigger display on a smaller body, great. MicroUSB allows me to use my phone charger, one less charger lying around, great. GPS and Bluetooth also connect fast. The cons -- The 510 touch screen was not perfect, but instead of improving that, they reverted back to hard-press buttons. And they are indeed HARD to press. Rather than making the interface more intuitive, I'd say it is less intuitive, and now it is harder to move around in the menus because my fingers have not developed the callouses yet to push these gosh-awful buttons. The backlight - they went so far as to recognize the need for a different display setting at night...but they STILL failed to give it an automatic backlight! So you STILL need to manually cycle thru the menus in order to find backlight-stays-on setting. And then you need to remember to switch it BACK on your next Saturday morning ride, because if you forget, your battery will die halfway thru your ride since you cannot tell the backlight ist still on during normal daylight. If someone can show me a shortcut for that I'd be grateful, but I don't think there is one still. OK, and then they threw in some text/call notifications. That's fine but when I'm on my bike I need to focus on my ride and dodging distracted motorists, and not becoming a distracted cyclist. Also, the Strava features are great if I wanted a TOY -- but my cycling computer needs to be a training tool, not a toy. I don't consider Strava segments to be serious training milestones, and I certainly don't need 12 out of 30 guys on my next group ride to be distracted with darting their eyes down to see the next Strava start segment. Some of these issues could still be fixed with a firmware update, but I don't have much faith that Garmin is getting the quality feedback they really need from riders who use these things, or the simple requests above would not remain unfulfilled. <End product rant.> OK, but I don't want to discourage you from getting it. It's a quality device so especially if you don't have one of the older Garmins yet this may still be the right choice for you.

            Garmin Edge 520 - A sweat little device!

            • Familiarity: I've used it several times

            Awesome features and very easy to set up! Quick pairing with cell phone blue-tooth for easy uploads. A fantastic little device that has everything you need for road and indoor cycling! You should seriously consider purchasing this product - Big upgrade on the old Garmin Edge 500 and 510.

            Great Product

              I ride an average 50 plus miles a week. I love everything about it. In my opinion, even the price you'll pay for it is a bargain, for all the features this bike GPS / computer have.

              Avg. ride time: 27m per week
              • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

              firmware needs updated

              • Familiarity: I've used it several times

              I like the computer i think it's better than the 510 simple cause of the buttons. I hate touch screen for cycling, but the firmware isn't great for powermeters yet.

              Best Garmin yet

              • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

              I've been using Garmin bike computers for many years. I've lost track of all the model numbers. My favorite was the Edge 500. I upgraded to the 510 when it came out but my feelings about it were mixed. I liked the size of the 500 better. And the touch screen on the 510 never worked that well. I liked that the 510 would connect via Bluetooth to my phone and I could upload rides via the phone rather than having to connect to my computer. Except the Bluetooth was a little funky and wouldn't always upload via phone; sometimes I still had to use that awful Garmin Communicator or Garmin Express on my computer to upload. Another plus was the inclusion of Glonass GPS, so it would find satellites very fast, versus the 500 that could take many minutes, and sometimes never connect to GPS. I stuck with the 510 but never loved it.

              Ahh, enter the 520. It's the best of both and the best Garmin I've ever used. The best display, the best UI, Bluetooth that works every time, GPS+Glonass, a size that is very close to the 500 and with a small bezel, the screen size is quite a bit larger than the 500.

              What I'd like to see Garmin do is have the smartphone app be able to configure the settings for the device. The menus are better than ever, but still pretty awkward to set up the screens. It would be so much better if the Garmin app could do the setup.

              Avg. ride time: 9h 2m per week
              • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

              Edge 520 Poor Display

              • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

              The display is difficult to read in a variety of conditions including early morning and evening and not at all in night time. The display works bests when the sun is overhead (middle of the day). I am very disappointed that I upgraded to the 520. The display on the 510 is a little better.