The Ultimate Lightweight Bike Computer

Credit: Courtesy Garmin

What It Is: A tiny GPS-enabled bike computer no bigger than an Apple Watch that nails the basics.

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Why We Like It: If you're the type of rider who mashes the pedals chasing KOMs, you likely have one of the many full-featured (and expensive) bike computers or a smartphone mounted to your handlebars. For the rest of us, the Edge 25 does everything we ask. For starters, it's impressively small and lightweight (it tipped our scale at only 24 grams), and has GPS to give you an accurate reading on how far and fast you're riding. In our real-world testing, we found it to acquire a satellite fix in seconds — even sandwiched between skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan — and the resulting track showed just the slightest wobble in some of the most challenging city riding.

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We like the Edge 25 over its little brother, the Edge 20, because it has built-in Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity. You can pair the 25 with your smartphone via Bluetooth and then upload your workouts to Garmin Connect as soon as you finish a ride. Likewise, you can connect it to external monitors such as a heart rate strap or cadence sensor to collect more ride data. The metrics shown on the grayscale display are large and clear, giving you a quick glimpse at the basics — for us, that was time, distance, and current speed. We configured a second screen to show ascent and average speed, which we liked to take a peek at during particularly hilly rides in New York's Adirondack Park. A third screen tells you time of day.

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If you've enabled "live tracking" in the Garmin Connect smartphone app, that same wireless connectivity allows your family members to know where you're at out there on the road. And you can download courses from Garmin Connect via the app and get prompts for each turn along your ride. An alternate screen displays a simple breadcrumb-like trail that you can follow, to get a sense of where you are on your route. But, if you're on another screen — say, the time/distance/speed page — a small box pops up as you approach each turn, alerting you of an upcoming change in direction. We especially like this because it means we don't have to tote along a cue sheet for long rides.

Nitpick: This is such a minor gripe at this price point, but we really have grown to love real maps you can view on a device. The Edge 25, however, doesn't support a base map, so you can't eyeball it to pick a route home. Nor can you do any real routable directions beyond following a course that you'd created on Garmin Connect in advance.

[$170; amazon.com]