Yesterday afternoon I was buried in work and feeling pretty stressed out. Absolutely nothing was going right, and I felt like I was about to go crazy.
I decided to get up, stretch my legs and relax with a hot cup of Yogi Peach DeTox tea (I’m fully addicted to this stuff now).
While I was in the kitchen waiting for my tea water to come to a boil, I heard the wonderful and familiar rumble of Big Brown just down the street! I smiled knowing that my new Garmin Edge 810 would soon be in my hot little hands. Few things get me as excited as new electronic toys; this is especially true when those glowing gizmos involve cycling!
I eagerly opened the box while my tea steeped, tossing aside the quick start manual, the bag of stem/handle bar mounts and the ridiculously short USB cable. I powered on the 810, and watched as it performed its boot procedure.
Before I started setting up the Edge 810, I checked its firmware version. Not surprisingly, the device left the factory with a firmware version that is now dated (v2.60), so the first thing I did was update it to the latest and greatest firmware, v2.90. The firmware update was easily accomplished using the free Garmin Express software, which I already had installed for my two Garmin Nuvi 50LM GPS navigation units and my Garmin Edge 500 Premium Red Edition cycling computer.
The Edge 810 ships with what Garmin calls “base maps”, which are essentially useless for navigation. In order to use the Edge 810 for turn-by-turn navigation, street-level maps must be installed. Garmin offers street-level maps, but they charge for them. I think it’s ridiculous that Garmin’s flagship cycling computer does not ship with useable maps right out of the box. Thankfully there is a free map solution that is as good as, if not better, than Garmin’s paid maps: OpenStreetMaps (OSM). Detailed maps of the entire United States, for example (all countries are available), only take up about 4 GB of space. An inexpensive SanDisk Ultra 16 GB MicroSD card is all you need, with plenty of room to spare.
Once I had the OSM maps on the MicroSD card, I ejected the MicroSD, popped it into my Garmin Edge 810, powered on the Edge 810 and… viola! The maps were automatically recognized and loaded. Super fast, simple and free.
Next I had some fun digging through the Edge 810’s menu system: I set up my custom bike profiles, entered all my user data, customized my training-specific and racing-specific data screens, set up my heart rate zones and tweaked the stock navigation settings. I also turned on the 810’s Bluetooth, and paired it with my Galaxy S4 smartphone (you’ll need to grab the free Garmin Connect app, too).
Setup was super easy, and intuitive. I also found the touch screen very responsive, and quickly became comfortable navigating the menus and swiping between screens.
After I had the 810 set up to my satisfaction, I adjusted my K-Edge Garmin mount to accommodate the 810 (the Edge 810 is larger then my Edge 500).
Here is the 810 mounted on my Madone (click to enlarge):
So the Edge 810 is off to a very good start. Of course the real test is how it performs on the road and on the trails. I’ll be doing a brief test ride this morning, and then a longer group ride later on today. This weekend I’m doing a long 177+ kilometer (110+ mile) ride, and so that will be a excellent test of the Edge 810’s stability, navigation features, ability to hold a charge and the Live Track feature.
More to come!