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As a mountain biker, I love tracking stats, following GPS routes, and geeking out over elevation profiles. For most of my mountain bike rides, I use my Garmin Fēnix watch to record/view this information, but if I’m doing a road ride, gravel ride, or bikepacking trip, my Garmin Edge 830 GPS Bike Computer is my tool of choice.
I’ve used this little device to help me navigate across the state of Washington, down the singletrack of the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona, along the Cathedral Valley Loop in Utah, on numerous shorter gravel and road rides, and more.
It has its pros and cons, but overall I’m super happy with the Garmin Edge 830 and in this post, I share my detailed review to help you decide if it’s the tool for you.
Garmin Edge 830
- Dimensions: 1.9” x 3.2” x 0.8”
- Display Size: 2.6 inches
- Battery life: 20+ hours
- Weight: 2.8 oz
- MSRP: $400
Where to shop:
What I Like
Some GPS computers don’t come with a touchscreen, but honestly, I think they are essential. Touchscreens make using the computer so much easier and more efficient, especially when changing settings or checking stats while you’re riding.
Be sure to get touchscreen-compatible gloves like the HANDUP Most Day Gloves.
Long battery life
Compared to cell phones, the Garmin 830 has a much longer battery life. When I use it for multi-day bikepacking trips, I’ll turn it off at night and it will last 3-4 days – or more – without needing a charge.
Garmin claims that it has a 20-hour battery life when using GPS (this doesn’t include non-ride time when the GPS isn’t running) and you can extend that to up to 40 hours with the Garmin Charge Power Pack.
There are two types of people in the cycling world: those who want to know the exact details of how steep and long a hill is (me) and those who prefer to stay oblivious that it’s gonna be another 2 miles to the top.
If you’re like me, being able to see the details of a climb makes huffing and puffing up a hill much easier and more enjoyable. If that sounds like you, too, then you’ll love ClimbPro. This feature alerts you when a climb is coming up and gives you stats on how steep the grades are and how long the climb is.
You can also take a look at all the climbs in a route beforehand to get a sense of how you should pace your ride.
(If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t want to know that the steepest part is yet to come, the ClimbPro feature can be turned off).
So many stats & insights
Here’s where the Garmin Edge 830 really sings if you’re a numbers and data person. There are so many different stats that it can track and it will even give you insights into how your training is going and how your fitness levels are progressing.
I probably don’t use even a third of these features, but if you’re really into that kind of stuff, then this is the bike computer for you.
If you want even more data, you can buy the Garmin Edge 830 Sensor bundle which includes a heart rate monitor so you can take your training to the next level.
The Garmin Edge 830 comes with pre-loaded maps for road, gravel, and trail riding in North America. It also comes with a worldwide TrailForks overlay map, which will give you basic road and trail data if you head overseas.
If you want detailed cycling maps for Europe, South America, and Oceania that include hotels, restaurants, points of interest, etc… that aren’t on the TrailForks world map, you can purchase those separately.
Easy on-the-go routing
Another cool feature of the Garmin Edge 830 is that you can create a route right in the computer with the course creator feature. If you have a destination in mind, you simply enter an address and it will route you there via the best cycling routes.
You can also add stops along the way.
Automatically syncs to other apps
The Garmin Edge 830 syncs to a number of other apps including:
- Strava: Your ride will automatically sync to Strava so you can keep track of your PR’s
- TrailForks: You can easily access TrailForks trails, networks, and even routes from your Garmin
- TrainingPeaks: (I haven’t used this, but my brother uses this app with his Garmin)
- Komoot: (I haven’t used it – Komoot is a mapping software with a big presence in Europe)
- Ride with GPS: pinned routes on Ride With GPS will automatically sync and show up on your Garmin, which is really cool and helpful.
And probably a lot more apps that I don’t know about.
To add apps to your Garmin Edge, you’ll need to download the Garmin IQ App to your phone, which will upload the apps to your bike computer. You can also add non-cycling apps like your Starbucks Card, Sonos, and more.
(If you just want the data to sync with your other apps like Strava or TrainingPeaks, you don’t need to download them to your Edge – they’ll automatically sync through BlueTooth).
If you do different types of biking, you can create separate profiles for each activity. For example, my activity profiles include: mountain biking, gravel biking, indoor cycling, and road biking. You can also add cyclocross, e-biking, e-mountain biking, and commuting.
What I Don’t Like
The learning curve
There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to using the Garmin Edge 830, especially if this is your first bike computer or you’re new to Garmin products. It’ll take some playing around with to learn your way around the system. I’ve had my Edge for over two years and I’m still discovering new features.
If you’re looking for a simple bike computer that is easy to use, this is not it.
Can be glitchy
I’ve run into several glitches since buying my Garmin Edge.
The first was when I was on my Cross-Washington bikepacking trip and the computer got stuck on one screen and none of the buttons would work. I had to turn it off and then back on. Not a big deal other than the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere and this was my only navigational aid, which made me nervous for a minute. I haven’t had this happen since.
The second was when I was in Africa on the K2N Stage Race. My Garmin had a really hard time loading the gpx routes and kept trying to re-route me. After getting back home, I did a bit of research, and apparently, there was a bug and I needed to do an update, which brings me to my next point…
Updates are not well communicated
Perhaps this is an issue with Garmin as a whole (or just me), but updates are not communicated at all.
You need to plug your Garmin into your computer to see if an update is available.
It would be really nice to have update notifications sent directly to the device so you don’t miss one (especially if it’s to fix a bug).
Bluetooth connection can be slow
Lastly, the Garmin connects to your phone via Bluetooth and it can be pretty slow sometimes. There have also been several occasions where I’ve needed to delete my device from my phone and re-add it for it to be recognized.
How to Upload A Route
The biggest question a lot of people have about the Garmin Edge 830 is how to upload your own gpx files.
If you use an app like Ride With GPS or Komoot, you can access saved routes (Komoot) or pinned routes (Ride With GPS) directly from the Saved Courses on your Edge. You can download these apps on the Garmin IQ app on your phone.
There are probably other apps/software this automatic route syncing works with, but these are the two I know for sure.
If you want to upload your own gpx file, here’s how you do it:
- Download your gpx file
- Connect your Garmin Edge to your computer
- Open the Garmin file on your computer
- Navigate to the NewFiles folder
- Drop your gpx file in the NewFiles folder
- Restart your Garmin
You should now see your route in Saved Courses on your Garmin Edge.
Garmin Edge 830 vs 530 vs 1040
If you’re shopping around, here’s how the Garmin Edge 830 stacks up against the 530 and the newly updated 1040. They all have the features I’ve outlined above including ClimbPro, app compatibility, training insights, and more.
Battery life: 20+ hours
Display size: 2.6″
Weight: 2.8 oz
Dimensions: 1.9” x 3.2” x 0.8”
Map: North America + TrailForks World Wide
Battery life: 20+ hours
Display size: 2.6″
Weight: 2.7 oz
Dimensions: 1.9″ x 3.2″ x 0.8″
Map: North America + TrailForks World Wide
Interested in the Garmin Edge 1040? Check out Petr Minarik’s full review at Cyclists Hub.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with my Garmin Edge 830 for bikepacking, gravel riding, and road biking (I prefer using my Garmin Fēnix watch for mountain biking). After spending some time learning how the computer works, it is easy to use with the touchscreen and reliable (aside from a few minor glitches).
I also like that it’s customizable with activity profiles and it provides great insights into training and fitness.
If you’re looking for a bike computer that is great for navigation and training insights, the Garmin Edge is a great option. If don’t need all the bells and whistles, you might want to consider a computer that is a bit simpler.
What’s your favorite bike computer? Have you used the Garmin Edge 830? What do you like/not like about it? Leave a comment below!