John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Garmin Edge 130 (mini review)

I’m a Garmin fanboy, but every now and then I run across a Garmin device that has left something out that is so obvious as to make me think WTF were they thinking. This, sadly, is one of those. I’d read DCrainmakers review that was so glowing I thought for sure this would be good purchase. Every now and then, sadly something that is a drop dead for me, is left out of the reviews, and I trip over the lack of a key to me feature. Anyway let’s get on with what I found, the good, bad and UGLY.

The Edge 130 is VERY small, and yet the screen on it, is almost as large as my older, much larger, Edge 305. It’s a black and white screen that is crisp, and easy to read, in almost any lighting. The device mounts to your handlebars with rubber elastics (with a couple sizes provided) that hold a standard quarter turn mount of which they give you two. The Edge 305 BTW had another one of those wonderful limitations I tripped over, this one was 50 waypoints … Eyeroll …

It’s bluetooth connected to your phone, so it can upload it’s workouts wirelessly, can get courses sent to it it displays notifications on the screen, can display the weather etc. The device supports connect IQ data fields, but there aren’t a lot of them that support this device. Each screen can have a lot of data on it, but given my eye sight, and the fact focusing on a screen while mountain biking is a BAD idea, for me 2 data fields is what is best for me. 1 data field is a waste because it doesn’t increase the size of the font. One of the screens is the elevation data and one is a map of your bread crumbs which is super clearly and crisply displayed. There are no maps on this device, but I wouldn’t expect it at this price.

Sensor wise it supports Ant+ and bluetooth sensors including heart rate monitors, wheel sensors and the like.

You can send courses to the Edge 130 and follow those courses, you can follow a clearly visible, easy to read map of the path and you get clear arrows in advance of turns and confirmation of turns. By default you get no information such as distance or time remaining, but you can add data fields to show that. My Fenix spoiled me, I was hoping for a LOT more, most Garmins to date have a separate screen that shows up when navigating.

There are no gauges like the heart rate gauge on the Fenix.

The device supports up to 100 Favorites/waypoints, but we run into the dumbest thing … you save those waypoints to your computer using Basecamp, but there is absolutely no way according to Garmin to upload waypoints to the device, and appears to not allow you to name the waypoints either. So basically you need to add each and every waypoint onto the device, from the device, and then somehow remember without a label what it was. My Foretrex 401 that’s VERY old can even do this. For me this is a drop dead, because my primary use is to be able to navigate to waypoints on a mountain bike. Unbelievable. Navigating to a waypoint works very clearly with a nice arrow and distance to that waypoint, it’s one of the things I don’t like about the Fenix, the arrow is way to small and unclear when trying to mountain bike. Am I the only one on the planet that uses this feature?

Update: I was speaking to Garmin support and was informed that the 130 is not supported by Basecamp to send data to it, BUT if I take the locations contents from my Fenix 6 Pro and drop it into the newfiles directory on the 130, the locations will get imported. So I tried it, and miraculously it worked and saved me from returning the device. Why the first support person didn’t suggest this is beyond me. Maybe they are still overwhelmed.

Accuracy wise I went on two rides, and compared it to a Fenix on once a second recording and it fared suprisingly well on all data points.

With the waypoint issue solved, here is what navigation to a waypoint looks like, a perfect distance and easily viewed direction to that point:

Unlike a number of Edge units, this is NOT a touch screen, which for me, is better so it can be easily controlled with buttons with gloves on, and in the rain! Exactly how I like it.

There is no virtual partner support for the Edge 130.

There is a newer version of the device called the Edge 130 plus, that adds some newer features like Mountain bike dynamics structured workout support, ClimbPro (for tracking painful ascents) and incident (crash) detection. It also auto adds previous device sensors making setup quicker. Why Garmin confuse the market with devices so similar in name is also, beyond me. Garmin could really use some kind of a guide to help people choose from the dizzying array of Edge units.

Update: I gave in and returned the Edge 130 to get the Edge 130 Plus. It really is the perfect little bike computer. So visible, so much functionality …

August 18, 2020 Posted by | GPS Stuff | Leave a comment

GPS accuracy on Garmins

I’d read a post on the Fenix 6 facebook group on this topic and decided I’d look into it. The post referred to Geodetic points. They are points on a map that the exact GPS location is known. So to check your GPS accuracy go to that point and compare what your GPS gets!

So first off I found a database of Geodetic points in Ontario. You find the location and then “View Report” for that point. I found one close to my home and headed off to see what my Fenix GPS thought the location was and saved it. The Geodetic point was in the format of degrees, minutes seconds. My fenix recorded the location in the format of degrees/minutes so to convert the two to the same format I used An online converter. You can then enter the Geodetic point into Garmin Basecamp, receive the data from the Fenix and compare. For me they were VERY close, within a few feet of each other. Well within the expectations for a GPS.

That’s it pretty simple.

August 14, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Helmets Giro Register MIPs (mini review)

As someone who has had the misfortune of a concussion, avoiding another one is high on the priority list. Helmets should be replaced after any kind of hit to the helmet, and eventually, when it gets too old. How old is too old? There doesn’t seem to be an answer this, I previously thought it was 5 years but that seems to be an out dated fact. None the less, I decided my mountain biking helmet, also a Giro was in need of replacing, it was getting pretty grimy.

I considered getting a helmet with an integrated bluetooth headset, or one with impact detection but ruled out both in favor of a comfortable, safe helmet rather than focus on tech … I know right? How odd for me 🙂

One of the new advancements in helmets, is MIPs. There’s some controversy as to whether this actually is any safer, but I haven’t seen anything saying it’s less, so I decided MIPs was what I wanted. Popped over to my local bike shop, only to find, like many others, that bike stuff is in short supply. We have a perfect storm of higher demand with more people with time on their hands and thus riding, and reduced supply. Yay. Well I tried a couple helmets but the Giro Register MIPs fit the best. There’s a bone on the back of the head and helmet for quite some time, even my old one, use this to stay in place. They also have a, easily adjusted know on the back of them to allow you make sure they fit right. This particular helmet is a one size fits all, and while I’m not sure about that, but it fits me well. Be sure and also adjust the chin strap that keeps the helmet in place during a fall.

Comparing against my old helmet the new helmet is 282g Vs 291 for my old Giro, so basically the same. The helmet has a little less ventilation on the top, and I noticed it is a little warmer.

All in all I like the new helmet, if you’ve had your helmet for a while, consider if it’s time to replace it. They are cheap <$100 and that's cheap protection for your head!

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment