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Garmin Edge 520 Review

Garmin Edge 520
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 5 stars
£170 to £245
  • 100%

  • Garmin Edge 520
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 1st June 2018
  • Heart Rate Monitor functions
    Editor: 95%
  • Heart Rate Accuracy
    Editor: 99%
  • Activity Tracking features
    Editor: 0%
  • Running functions
    Editor: 25%
  • Cycling functions
    Editor: 99%
  • Fitness monitoring features
    Editor: 80%
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 85%
  • Battery Life
    Editor: 85%

Just when I was 100% convinced I didn’t need another new Garmin Edge unit…. those pesky innovators have released the new Garmin Edge 520 with STRAVA SEGMENT feedback. The Garmin Edge 520 GPS performance bike computer has been reviewed by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic

Reviewed - the Garmin Edge 520 GPS bike computer

Release Date (UK) > July 2015

Product it replaced > Edge 510

Recommeneded Retail Price (when new) > £249

Who’s it For?

The Edge 520 is for any performance driven cyclist who wants to monitor speed, distance, cadence and power. It’s got essential GPS navigation features like like route follow and get back home. It includes a BASEMAP so you can navigate on the fly. If you’re a fan of Strava, and who’s not, then you’ll be pleased to know that the Edge 520 can be pre-loaded with all your local Strava segments so you get LIVE feedback when you get close to a segment. Note, if you are more interested in NAVIGATION than performance (or budget no concern) then I’d recommend the Edge 820.

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Next Model Up

Is either the Edge 1000 with FULL auto-routing and impromptu round trip creation or the newer Edge 820 also with full auto-routing. If you prefer a larger display, get the 1000, otherwise I’d suggest the Edge 820, my personal favourite

Quick Links – Amazon price check

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Pros & Cons


  • Perfect size
  • LIVE Strava Segments (requires Strava Premium)
  • Advanced performance and power analysis eg - Time in Zone, FTP tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery timer/li>
  • Supported by competent Garmin Connect App (iOs & Android)
  • ANT+ accessory support - heart rate, power, cadence, speed etc
  • Only 60g
  • Auto Lap
  • Interval Training mode
  • Race yourself against a previously ridden Course
  • Virtual Partner - try to keep up with a pre-set rider eg 20mph
  • Battery up to 15 hours
  • Full customisation of Training Pages
  • Customise training pages by style of riding, eg. RACE, TRAIN, INDOOR etc
  • Clear bright display, viewable in any light conditions
  • Touch screen display for easy SWIPE from one to the next
  • Cons

  • Seriously, it's pretty well perfect as it is !
  • Next Down

    The next model down is either the Edge 510 if you are PERFORMANCE inclined or the Edge Touring Plus if your preference is towards a navigational solution with auto-routing and full mapping. However, if you want to keep things simple, but still maintain ANT+ connection for sensors and Bluetooth Connection for smartphones, then please consider the Edge 25


    The best alternative to the Garmin Edge 520 is the Polar M460. The Polar M460 replaced the brilliant M450 with the addition of LIVE Strava Segments. The Garmin does have more technical features, but the M460 gives it a genuine run for it’s money being about £50/$70 less.

    • Polar M460 Review – excellent value for money with power meter support and LIVE Strava segments

    New Features

    The Edge 520 has more new features than ever seen before in a new product release from Garmin. This is NOT just a marketing refresh of the Edge 510… it’s pretty much a brand new product. Here’s the most significant new features ….


    For those who have used Garmin Edge products over the last 5 or 6 years you will know that 500 series are performance lead with “some” navigation and the Edge 800 series is the combination of performance AND navigation. The NEW Edge 520 isn’t quite the FULL auto-routing GPS navigator that the 810 and 1000 are, but it has IT’S OWN BASEMAP !

    Basemap I hear you say.. isn’t that very basic? Yes, seriously low resolution mapping. HOWEVER, do not fear, the Edge 520 can be uploaded with the FULL RES Open Street maps (a FREE opensource resource, also used by the Polar V650). Once you have done this you have the same level of mapping detail found on models like the Edge Touring, 810, 820 and 1000.

    Let’s be clear – this is NOT an auto-routing device. Even when you have downloaded the latest opensource maps you still can’t tell the unit to get you from A to B. If you want to do that, get an Edge 820

    Strava Segments are here

    For many people this is what will force them to upgrade. Strava is HUGE in the cycling world, if you’ve never heard of Strava a) where have you been and b) pop over to their website here

    Even when I’m in the middle of a Norfolk coast shocker of a ride I will always be thinking of the next “segment”… OK, this ride has been a disaster, but if I can just bag one KOM or Personal Best I’ll be happy. On all other Garmin Edge models you have to wait until you get home and upload to know if you’re going to be inundated with KUDOS…. not anymore …

    End of a segment on the Edge 520

    The integration of Strava in to the Edge 520 is well executed. The segments that the user has either FAVOURITED or marked as those they wish to perform better in are downloaded in to the unit. Garmin also adds a few more that it thinks you may have an interest in (about 20)

    NOTE … before you all get too carried away, you need to be a Strava PREMIUM member to access this new feature … but it’s worth it :-)

    Bluetooth Call & Text Notifications

    Love them or hate them … Smart Notifications are here to stay. I’m not a fan, but I have to admit to having had a couple of incoming call alerts on my VivoSmart that have saved me time and trouble arriving at a venue I’d otherwise missed with my phone in my back pocket..

    Recovery Calculator

    Anyone who has used the Forerunner 920XT will know how useful it is to be informed of your TIME UNTIL RECOVERED. The Edge 520 shows very clearly post training how long it will be until you are ready to go and do it all again. This is a sophisticated algorithm that has been available in their top of the range running and tri watches like the 620 and 920XT and Fenix3 for some time.

    Other key new additions include

    VO2 Max Estimation – (Garmin Vector or other power meter required)

    Personal Records – tells you you’ve just completed your best 10 mile section and similar.

    Cycling Dynamics  – illustrated data from the Power Pedals

    Cycling Dynamics from Power pedals on the Edge 520

    Garmin Varia System – have you seen this ?… hopefully we will get a review written up shortly but this is Garmin’s amazing new rear light with RADAR to give warning of rapidly approaching vehicles from behind !! The Varia system is compatible with the Edge 520 giving you a CLEAR orange alert on your Edge screen when a vehicle is approaching from behind, at speed and getting too close…

    Garmin Varia rear radar system compatible with Edge 520

    Edge 520 Images

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    Edge 520 side profile

    Edge 520 Training PagesEdge 520 with Garmin's normal 1/4 turn mount

    Promotional Videos

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    In the Box

    Device Only

    • Edge 520
    • Mounts (standard and extended out-front)
    • USB cable
    • Tether
    • Manuals


    • Edge 520
    • Heart rate monitor
    • Cadence sensor
    • Speed sensor
    • Mounts (standard and extended out-front)
    • USB cable
    • Tether
    • Manuals

    Review Summary

    The Garmin Edge 520 has been awarded a rare top of the class review rating of 5/5 stars. It’s the perfect balance of performance monitoring and essential navigational functionality. The basemap is quite “basic” but for anyone with a grasp of simple maps it is more than sufficient to get you from A to B or back home if you’ve wandered off track. For the technical road racer the Edge 520 has features like power monitor connectivity and Shimano Di2 support.

    For those looking to monitor their training progress in the greatest details the Edge 520 has a plethora of cycling dynamics with VO2 max and FTP tracking. For the rider who likes to remain connected to their smartphone the Edge 520 supports notification alerts and even LiveTrack (in areas of 3G and 4G) to relay your position to friends and family on Garmin Connect. In summary, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the Garmin Edge 520 to cyclists of all levels. If you want something less technical, consider the Edge 25, if you want full post code auto-routing then there’s the Edge 820

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    Technical Specifications

    >> back to Edge 520 review

    Physical dimensions 1.9” x 2.9” x 0.8” (4.9 x 7.3 x 2.1 cm)
    Display size, WxH 1.4” x 1.9” (3.5 x 4.7 cm)
    Display resolution, WxH 200 x 265 pixels
    Color display  Yes
    Weight 2.1 oz (60 g)
    Battery rechargeable lithium-ion
    Battery life up to 15 hours

    Maps & Memory

    Waypoints/favorites/locations 200
    Routes 0
    History up to 180 hours

    Cycling Features

    Compatible with Vector™ Yes
    Multiple bike profiles Yes
    Bike speed/cadence sensor Yes (optional)

    Running & Cycling Features

    Heart rate monitor Yes (optional)
    Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person) Yes
    Courses (compete against previous activities) Yes
    Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed) Yes
    Auto Lap® (automatically starts a new lap) Yes
    Auto Scroll (cycles through data pages during workout) Yes
    Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts) Yes
    Time/distance alert (triggers alarm when you reach goal) Yes
    Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals) Yes
    Heart rate-based calorie computation Yes
    Customizable screen(s) Yes
    Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible 3rd party ANT+™-enabled power meters) Yes
    Temperature (displays and records temperature while you ride) Yes

    Garmin Connect™

    Garmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data) Yes
    Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer) Yes

    Additional Features

    • Compatible with Varia™ bike radar and lights: yes
    • Edge® remote compatibility: yes
    • LiveTrack: yes
    • Advanced performance and power analysis, including new Time in Zone, FTP tracking, cycling-specific VO2 and recovery and cycling dynamics
    • Bike trainer profile for compatible Turbo trainer data display and control
    • On-device segment compatibility for dynamic and engaging in-ride competition
    • Operating temperature: -20°C to +55°C
    • Connected features via a smartphone: yes
    • Compatible with Garmin Connect™ and Garmin Connect™ Mobile: yes
    • Compatible with VIRB® action cameras: yes
    • Integration with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting: yes
    • Weather alerts: yes
    • Preloaded Garmin cycling map: no
    • Wi-Fi® compatible: no
    • Round-trip routing: no
    • Route planner: no is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to,,,,, or Likewise, we are members of other private affiliate programs and may earn comissions on purchases done by referrals at no additional cost for the buyer.