What you need to know
- Garmin has announced four new cycling computers: the Edge 540, Edge 840, and two Solar variants.
- Both the Edge 540 and 840 add multi-band GNSS, daily suggested workouts, Power Guide, Real-Time Stamina, ClimbPro Ascent Planner, and a "cycling ability" score.
- The Edge 540 relies on button controls, while the 840 adds a touchscreen to better navigate maps and menus.
- Each model adds 6 hours of battery life (or 12+ with Solar) compared to the Edge 530 and 830.
Garmin reserved most of its best cycling features to the expensive Edge 1040 (and 1040 Solar) last year. But the latest Garmin Edge 540 and Edge 840, announced on Tuesday, bring some of our favorite tools, like solar charging, to a price tier more cyclists can afford.
The Garmin Edge 540 ($350 or $450 with Solar) and Edge 840 ($450 to $550) both add a laundry list of improvements that previously came to many of our favorite Garmin running watches.
Multi-band GNSS ensures that you won't lose your signal as frequently in forested or urban environments. Adaptive coaching uses your training load and recovery data to suggest a daily workout length and difficulty that you can handle, while real-time stamina estimates how much energy you have left so you don't overtax yourself.
Cycling ability, quite similar to acute load found on the Forerunner 955, judges your aerobic and anaerobic capacity to judge what kind of training you should do. Originally an Edge 1040 feature, cycling ability will help you determine if a specific route is too much for you to handle ahead of time.
For regular use, the non-Solar Edge 540 and 840 both jump to 26 hours, six more than their predecessors. The Solar versions last about 32 hours, or "up to an extra 25 minutes per hour during daytime riding," by Garmin's estimates. In battery saver mode, they'll last up to 60 hours.
That's 40 hours less than the Edge 1040...but you're also spending $200-300 less, making it a fair trade-off. Both the Edge 540 and 840 appear to have the same list of features, except that some people will prefer having a touchscreen for ease of use since scrolling through maps with buttons alone can prove frustrating.
Aside from new features, Garmin promises improvements in areas like maps that "highlight popular roads and trails, plus searchable points of interest" and the option to "pause route guidance and off-course notifications" when you purposefully go off-course.
Garmin says its new Edge 540 and 840 computers are compatible with its Varia cycling radars and InReach satellite devices. You can buy them individually or in bundles with sensors for heart rate, speed, and cadence.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.