Garmin Edge 605 Review

by Brad Pretzer

The Garmin Edge 605 bicycle GPS is Garmin's second most advanced bicycling GPS and cyclocomputer. The Garmin Edge 605 has all the same features as the Garmin Edge 705 with the exception of accepting data from the wireless heart rate, cadence, and power devices. I have owned the device for 3 months, ridden with it for over 400 miles, used it for day and night rides, and used it on 4 different bikes. It is a great product with lots of usefulness and durability.


GPS Functions

There are two bundled versions you can purchase the Garmin Edge 605 in. Both contain exactly the same GPS unit. One has the Garmin City Navigator microSD Card, and the other does not. At first I didn't understand how the GPS could function without maps; however, my good friend talked me into purchasing the version without the maps. Without the card and maps, the Edge 605 has only major highways and roads on it and no points of interest. This does not stop you from adding your own points and creating your own routes however. The card only permits the unit to navigate to an address, point of interest, or saved location.

I create my routes either by using http://www.mapmyride.com/, by riding a route and using the history function of the GPS to save it as a ride, or by using the free Garmin Training Center software.

http://www.mapmyride.com/ allows you to draw a route on a map then export the route to a .gpx file. Once you have the .gpx file it is very quick to drag it from your computer to the GPX folder of the Garmin Edge 605 unit. Once there, you can access this route by selecting Menu -> Where To? -> Saved Rides. I use this method if I want to create a route to somewhere I have not been before or try a new way of getting somewhere. http://www.mapmyride.com is great because it will show the mileage, elevation, follow roads, and is very easy to use.

You can also create route by riding a route first, say with friends, then selecting Menu -> Where To? -> Follow History. Just select the day of the ride and the GPS unit will guide you through the turns. Just remember before you start a ride that you'd like to use later as a route to press and hold the LAP button to reset the counters, then press the START/STOP button to have the GPS begin remembering your route.

The last method to save a course is to ride it, then download the GPS data to the free Garmin Training Center software and save it as a course there.

As you navigate through a saved ride the Garmin GPS 605 will display the upcoming turn on the map, give you an audible alert if selected, and indicate distance and time to the turn. If you have the optional Garmin City Navigator microSD Card installed it will also show the street and its name. If you don't have the card all you will be missing are the street names. The GPS unit will still show all the turns in the route and it works perfectly to get places.

This spring when there was massive flooding in New England I was on a ride and couldn't continue the way I wanted due to road closures. I was in an unfamiliar area and only knew the route I had planned. I used the GPS map feature to depict my location and that of a known town. It was then easy to just point my bike in the direction of the town I knew. This was fun because I learned some new roads. The GPS relives any stress of getting lost.

Cyclocomputer Functions

I mostly use the Garmin Edge 605 as a cyclocomputer. I have it setup with speed, distance, average speed, maximum speed, time of day, and ride time on the screen. The screen is very easy to read day or night. It is clear even in the brightest sun and with sunglasses. Even with 6 pieces of data being shown on the screen they are all easy to read. The screen seems to be a perfect size balancing readability and overall unit size.

Waterproofness

Bicycle wheel going through deep water I have tested the waterproofness of the Garmin Edge 605 extensively. During I have ridden with it in rain and behind others going through puddles. It has received a lot of water on it and never missed a beat. The most water it saw was during a ride on my Bacchetta recumbent I inadvertently knocked it off the mount with my knee while going through a section of flooded road that had water axle-deep. It was submerged for over a minute as I finished riding through the water, got off and set down my bike, and walked back through the water to retrieve the GPS unit. An onlooker asked if it was waterproof. I replied, "I don't know, but we are going to find out." I pulled the Edge 605 out of the water and, surprisingly, the screen was still on. I mounted it back on the bike and it was never any worse for the experience. I don't recommend taking the unit swimming; however, I'd say it is quite waterproof.

Battery Life

Apparently, battery life has been a big problem on the early models of Garmin GPS's. That is not the case on the Edge 605, however. I have had it on 80-mile rides while having it navigate and keeping the screen's backlight on continuously and the battery is only half-depleted when I get home. Other times I turn it on in the morning, ride on and off throughout the day and don't turn it off until going to bed and again, the battery still has lots of power left in it. I am sure the battery's endurance can outlast mine.

Mounting Clips

The Garmin Edge 605 is great in that you can install it on any bike by just using zip-ties to secure a mounting pad on the bike. I have the Garmin Edge handle bar mount installed on all 4 of my bicycles. You don't have to install magnets on wheels and sensors on the forks. The Edge 605 gets all of its speed data from the satellites. The only problem I have had is that two of my mounting pads don't completely click into the GPS when it is slid on. I found this out after it fell off 3 times in one ride. Once into a deep puddle. I have found that when I slide the Edge 605 onto the clip, I need to press upward on the tap on the bicycle mount to ensure it is locked into the GPS unit. Since I have been doing this I have not had any problems. Also, all three times the GPS went bouncing across the ground, no harm was done to it.