I’ve been reading about the Garmin Edge over the weekend and from what I’ve read, the Edge should be the heat. It promises to fix many of the limitations with eTrex and Forerunner lines and appears to be designed with cyclists in mind.

One of the most tantilizing features I read about is the SiRF chip technology that improves satellite reception in the trees. When I was riding in Colorado this wasn’t a big deal but getting good GPS data here in North Carolina is nearly impossible on most of the bike trails. Almost sounds too good to be true, I’ll be interested to see how much better the Edge handles this situation.

The Edge also gets rid of the clunky PC serial interface and instead sports a sexy USB connection PLUS it’s rechargeable. Hopefully you will be able to use batteries as well for those long trips when you’re away from electrical connections. The trackpoint capacity of the Edge is also expanded to 13,000 points which is 3,000 points more than the top of the line eTrex Vista. This should allow you to keep even the most epic rides in memory long enough to get back to your PC.

Another new addition on the Edge is the use of “Courses” which sound very similar to tracks on older units. The main advantage of Courses over tracks seems to be the way the unit handles the Course; when calculating estimated time to arrival, the Edge will take into account both distance and elevation (instead of just distance). Seems pretty minor to me, it’s still just estimating and has no idea how fast (or slow) you climb (or descend).

With Courses you will now be able to “virtually race” others by sharing their Course data for a particular ride. For those of you who have been using Singletracks.com over the past year KNOW that we started offering virtual bike racing more than a year ago using routes instead of tracks or Courses.

The other unknown with the new Garmin Edge is how proprietary the data storage will be. Courses may be difficult to share with others who don’t use Garmin products and may even require current Garmin users to upgrade their hardware in order to play. Based on Garmin’s previous offerings, I’m definitely skeptical about over promised features and proprietary data schemes. Guess we’ll have to wait until November to see…

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