So, would I buy one?
Not really sure, it has so many good points but just a couple of shortcomings...
The Garmin Edge 200 is an entry level GPS based bike computer. Is the same size as one of those little magnet computers that die after a couple of years, but its so much better.
It attaches to the bike using Garmin's standard bike mounts which are held on with sturdy rubber bands. An excellent stable system. Comes with 2 mounts.
It uses those GPS satellites to work out where you are (so you don't need a magnet) and tracks where you've been to work out how far you have gone. It will also tell you how long you've been riding, your average speed, how fast you are going, and a seemingly random number purporting to be how many calories you've used since you started.
It logs where you have been and allows you to download your rides via usb to your PC or Mac into Garmin Connect. It has a micro USB connector on the back covered with a rubber flap to keep the muck out. It also charges via USB, either from the supplied USB wall socket or from a computer (cable supplied too).
The internal lithium ion battery is supposed to last for 17 hours. The longest ride I have done was 7hrs following a course and the battery was at 56%, which would work out about 16hrs til death. After checking with someone who rides mega long routes they got down to 18% on a 9 and a half hour ride, that would give a maximum of 12hrs.
The unit has a backlight for checking where you are when you get dropped by your mates in the deep dark woods, and need to find a way out.
The best feature is the unit allows you to download courses onto it. Courses are like routes (without waypoints). You can either make the courses on JustGoRide, which integrates seamlessly with the unit, or on the Garmin Connect website. The unit is then connected to your PC or Mac and the course is injected into it. I found that JustGoRide is great for off-road course creation and Garmin Connect for road routes.
I've used the Edge 200 alone to navigate courses up to 100 miles. I had no problems with getting where I wanted to go, and back. When in course mode it automatically zooms in and out of the course depending how fast you're going. You only have the course black line to follow though, there is no base map on the unit and you can't load any on. This would be an issue if there was a road/trail closed on your course, you would have to use something else to get back on track.
Another great use for the course function is you can log a route and convert that log to a course. This course will contain the speed and position of you on that route. You can then race yourself around that course. This is an excellent feature if you are training for a lap race like Mountain Mayhem or Sleepless in the Saddle. You can ride a similar route and try to improve your time over consecutive laps. The unit tells you whether you are ahead or behind your previous lap. This is great for motivation.
The unit keeps a track of all your rides and you can view the rides by Longest Ride, Fastest Ride and a total Odometer.
The Edge 200 is fully waterproof and mud proof. It's got 4 easy to push button on the side which work well even with gloves on.
So what's wrong with it?
Well, not much.
No clock! Sounds like a small thing (and it is) but the unit has a clock on the start up screen, but once you start riding it disappears and you can't get it back, on any of the screens. Irritating.
There is no way to connect a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor to the Edge 200. With the other Edge models you can connect a heart rate monitors and cadence sensors to log your heart rate and cadence stuff. This is not available on the 200. If you are big into zones this might mean you have to upgrade to the 500.
No user adjustments to the screens on the 200. Not sure if this is a big deal, as it is easy to scroll through the info pages while you are riding, but it's nice to change things to just how you like them sometimes.
So, would I or wouldn't I...
The choice for me would be between the Edge 200 or the Edge 500. A quick shopping search has the Edge 200 for £104 posted and the Edge 500 for £200 with the heart rate monitor and cadence sensor. That's a big jump in price for the heart rate, cadence and adjustable screens.
I think I probably will.
Maybe you should too?