Courses on the Garmin Edge 500

| May 24, 2010 9:50 am

Once point of confusion when people are deciding between the Garmin Edge 500 and 705, is the lack of maps on the 500. Some come to the conclusion that the Edge 500 provides no navigational features, which is not true.  Although you can not get a street level view, with the pre-plotted course shown, you can upload courses from either an existing workout or by mapping them in advance. You add the course in the Garmin Training Center program and then send it to your Edge 500.

After transferring the course to your Edge 500, select Training from the Menu, then select Courses

Next select the course file you wish to use.

Your Garmin now has three additional screens.

The first one shows the hill profile behind and ahead of you.  This is quite useful as you are making a long climb since you get a visual clue of the grade ahead.

The nextr screen which I use primarily is the course on a simplistic map.  You can use this to navigate you way along the course.

The arrow shows where you are and the line shows what is ahead.   If you look at the screen above, it is easy enough to see you bend to the left and then a right turn is coming.  The course keeps getting updated as you move along so you can tell you are getting close to the turn.  At the top of the screen, once you are on the course, it will show the total distance to the end of the course.  If you get off course, you will receive a warning message.  Even if you are off course, but near the course, you can see your location by the pointer and the course line off to the side, and easily find your way back.

The third new screen is only there if you take the time to enter course points in Garmin Training Center.  This involves entered every turn, picking an icon to show left, right, summitt, etc, and the name of the road you turn on.  You then get a live, constantly updated route sheet.

One problem I have noted is with an out and back course.  If you did not go fully to what it thinks is the turn around point, on the way back, it seems to think you are off course and wants you to return to the turn around, but the line still shows and you can follow it back.  It is just annoying to have it flash “off course”, then “found course”, repeatedly.

5 Responses to “Courses on the Garmin Edge 500”

Chris wrote a comment on May 31, 2010

Hi Franz,

I was very interested to read your review because, as you already mentioned it, there are many different conclusions to the navigation functionality out there in the net.

But with your blog entry you told me something new. So, I was just in known of two screens for following courses. The one with the hight and the other one with the breadcrumb graph. But I’ve never read about or found a picture of the turn-by-turn navigation screen.

As the most people are complaining about the bad auto-zoom function it would be a very interesting feature to me to use the turn-by-turn mode instead of the breadcrumb solution.

Maybe you can add a picture so that I can get an imagination of how it looks/works like.

Thanks in advance,

[…] Of course if you have no Garmin device now, you could go with the Garmin Forerunner 310XT, and use the Quick release kit to mount it on your bike.  But I primarily bike and the Garmin Edge 500 is well suited for that.  You might also read my other post on using course on the Edge 500. […]

Stephen wrote a comment on November 11, 2010


This is a really good post – I haven’t been able to find anything like it on the edge 500 anywhere else. How many courses can you fit on the edge 500? I’m thinking of going touring for a week, or maybe 10 days, and I’m wondering if I could fit 10 days (700km?) of courses on the device. Do you think this is possible?

Does the device have space to store 10 days of data so I can download it to my PC when I come back?



Alex wrote a comment on December 7, 2010


Edge 500 provides navigational features, but limited. There are no waypoints! so you cannot explore a new trail and mark the critical points to ride the trail again. Just a line without any reference.

The lap feature could replace a waypoint but the Edge 500 doesnt show recorded laps in the display!

The elevation points could eather replace a waypoint but the Edge 500 just let you record 10 elevation points!

[…] bike and the Garmin Edge 500 is well suited for that. You might also read my other post on using course on the Edge 500. Share […]