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Regardless of the Edge 830 and 530 gnawing at its heels, the Garmin Edge 1030 still occupies the very best step of the GPS giant’s current range. While a string of new inhouse tech and firmware updates have kept it largely up-to-date through the years, its biggest threat originates from the unlikeliest of rivals… Get the best black friday deals and sale of every product you dreamt of.

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The touchscreen isn’t as sensitive as a smartphone or the Sigma Rox 12 that people recently tested for example. Just like the USB charging port the start/stop and lap buttons are positioned on underneath edge. The energy button is on the left side. With the included mount, which holds the computer inline together with your bars, there is a lot of clearance to gain access to the start/stop and lap buttons. The mount is strong and holds its position, even though traversing corrugated singletrack sections by mountain bike.

On the trunk of the machine, there are provisions for a MicroSD card to expand the inner memory, which can endure to 200 hours of rides, 100 courses and 200 waypoints. The quarter-turn mount also features contact points for the Garmin Charge power bank, which connects to underneath of the included mount and is claimed to supply yet another 24-hours of battery life.

Despite the fact that the computer itself is massive, the white trim around the screen is classy and increases its refined appearance – it really is still easily among the best-looking cycling computers available to buy.

Ride experience

Sitting at the tippy top of Garmin’s hierarchy of cycling computers it’s no real surprise that there surely is no shortage of great features, including lots of the features launched with the newer Edge 530 and 830 – however, not all of them.

With the most recent version of the firmware (during writing), the 1030 has ClimbPro, Heat and Altitude Acclimation, Training API support, hydration and nutrition tracking and alerts, plus some of the brand new mountain bike metrics like Grit, Flow and Jumps. However, one notable omission is Trailforks integration. The existing maps do feature some trails, however, they aren’t practically as detailed as those on the 830, and Garmin has decided against adding the ForkSight features, which automatically teaches you a trail map when you stop on a mountain bike trail. You will find a Trailforks Connect IQ iphone app which does permit you to download routes but doesn’t replace the simple the integrated maps.

The maps of roads, however, are incredibly detailed, and courses could be either uploaded via Garmin Connect; IQ software such as for example Strava Routes, Komoot or Trailforks; or created on these devices by searching sights, cities, addresses or dropping pins on a map. Although Garmin says it generates routes on these devices using Trendline proprietary heatmaps, it often takes you on the most direct route, instead of quieter streets frequented by cyclists.

My test utilised the Darren Smith Memorial Route, which is without question the most used cycling route in the region. The reason that may be the perfect test for such heatmap-based cycling features is that the DSMR runs parallel to the Gold Coast Highway, taking quiet side streets the complete way. And, just as the Wahoo Elemnt Roam, Sigma Rox 12 and more budget-friendly Bryton Rider 420 before it, the Edge 1030 tried to route me down the highway. What’s worse, trying to find a route or POI on these devices using the ABC keyboard requires a surprising amount of mental horsepower, especially given we all have been well adapted to the QWERTY keyboards entirely on our phones.

When navigating, the Garmin provides ample instructions to alert you of the next turn, regardless if you have swiped from the mapping screen. If you do overshoot a turn, the computer will attempt and get you back on course, however, this appears to usually bring about u-turns instead of trying to meet up back up down the road the route. Whether you are carrying out a course or not, the Edge 1030 (and other Garmin units) will provide you with an advance notice about road hazards like sharp bends. That is an attribute I wish more computers had, and these alerts have helped me keep carefully the rubber side down whether riding a descent for the very first time, or maybe being brain dead nearing the finish of a five-hour ride.

When the street points up the 1030 will automatically switch to the ClimbPro screen in the event you come after a major enough hill when carrying out a course. It teaches you a colour-coded elevation profile, which not merely lets you know if you have made it to the very best of the climb but also prevents false summit heartbreak. This feature does specifically what it says it can, and is brilliant for pacing, or racking your brains on where you can attack in a road race.

These devices will track every metric beneath the sun, and the large screen could be well utilised to show graphic versions of metrics like power, HR and speed together with more advanced metrics such as for example LR power for those who have the proper sensors. The screen will display up to ten parameters, with the blocks still readable as the screen gets crowded.

As well as the training screens, you can define different activity modes, with the computer appearing out of the box with Road, Mountain and Indoor screen options. Here you can customise data fields along with define different bikes, therefore the head unit isn’t wasting battery looking for the power meter from your own road bike if you are on a gravel ride.

The 1030 can hook up to both ANT+ and Bluetooth sensors including electronic drivetrains and has support for the Garmin Varia lights, both for control and radar. This can be a first Garmin head unit I’ve ever used which hasn’t unpaired from and/or forgotten sensors all alone, and I had no problems with the ANT+ connectivity. Bluetooth, however, was an totally different story.

The out in the front mount is study and holds the computer consistent with your stem (Image credit: Colin Levitch)
The computer would randomly drop the Bluetooth link with my phone both during rides even though trying to sync courses and complete activities to GarminConnect. I possibly could always tell precisely when this might happen on the highway as the computer would light with a gazillion notifications. This appears to be a continuing problem with the Edge computers, and I’ve had the same problems with the Edge 130, 830 and today 1030, on two separate iPhones. I’ve had no such issues with Wahoo or Bryton computers.

For a top-end unit, the Edge 1030’s claimed 20-hour battery life is on par with similarly priced head units from other brands – with the notable exception of Bryton, which adds on another 16-hours. Running the screen on ‘Auto’ brightness, and pairing a power meter, HR strap and Varia radar rear light, the 1030 appeared to go out of juice at around the 18-hours mark.

With the brand new Training API, workouts may easily be pushed right to these devices from services such as for example TrainerRoad, Today’s Plan or Training Peaks. I have already been quite a long time fan of TrainerRoad’s ‘do outside’ functionality, and the workouts automatically sync to the top unit. With the silver screen, there is a lot of real estate showing the upcoming intervals as well as your progress through the workout, in addition to a colour-coded slider that lets you know whether you’re hitting your goals.

On the other end of working out spectrum may be the Firstbeat Training status information. Monitoring things such as training load, training stress and VO2 max. An added feature of note is Garmin’s Incident Notification. In some recoverable format, it’s a feature I’d spend extra to have however in practice, it really is worse than useless. In my own testing period, I set the incident detection off carrying out a series of jumps not forgetting each and every time I rode a specific rock garden within my local trail network and stopping for an end sign. I likewise have a Specialized ANGi stuck on the trunk of my helmet and also have had zero false positives in the same period. This issue has been widely reported across every head unit because the launch of the 820. If you ask me, it appears Garmin will be better off supporting something similar to ANGi as Wahoo did.


The Garmin Edge 1030 is a robust cycling computer in the event that you plan to make usage of it as an exercise aid or a navigation tool. With the sizeable detailed colour screen and breadth of features, it can offer more functionality than almost every other head units available to buy.

I’ve a checkered past with Garmin head units and also have experienced first hand the entire gamut of problems – including two bricked Edge 520s in under half a year. However, the Edge 1030 has became the most reliable Garmin cycling computer that’s been mounted on my bike because the original Edge 500 – despite having the Bluetooth issues. Although the silver screen doesn’t quite match the Rox 12, it’s still pretty darn good and shows plenty of detail, whether that be data or mapping.

Coming in at £499 / $599 / AU$749, it’s the priciest unit in Garmin’s range, but could it be the best? I’m not sure.

The Edge 830 has yet features, plus native Trailforks maps, the same 20-hour battery life and costs less overall. The decision eventually boils down to just how much you value screen size – if that’s your priority then Edge 1030 will leave you prefer a pig in mud. If it were me, until Garmin adds Trailforks and ForkSight, I’d spend my money on the Edge 830.

Tech spec

  • Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth, WiFi
  • Companion App: Yes
  • Navigation: OpenStreet Map
  • Claimed battery life: 20-hours
  • Weight: 126g (actual)
  • Screen: 3.5in/89mm d

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