Garmin Edge Touring Plus - first look

Car-style sat nav for cycle-tourists

At Eurobike, Garmin launched two new GPS cycle computers aimed at tourers and e-bike riders. These are the Edge Touring (US$249/£199) and its feature-richer brother, the Edge Touring Plus (US$299/£249), the latter of which we've just been sent.

The touch-screen Garmin Edge Touring Plus GPS unit uses the same tough waterproof housing and layout as the sportier Edge 800 and BikeRadar Most Wanted winner, the 810. It weighs 98g and its colour screen is 2.6in high and 1.8in wide (56mm x 37mm).  

It's billed as the sat nav for tourers and comes with good, detailed road maps that bear a clear resemblance to those used on Garmin's in-car devices. Bike routes can be downloaded from and uploaded to ride sharing websites such as Strava or Garmin Connect, so social riders can share away to their hearts' content.

Personalising the setup of the Edge Touring Plus is easy and quick. There are a raft of data fields to choose from, including heart rate (it works on ANT+), route display and variations on the usual speed, time and distance figures. 

The big difference between this and sport-orientated models is the absence of cadence and power fields. Tourers and dedicated Audax riders (the majority of Audax riders use GPS, we're told) riders won't care. They'll want information that's useful when they're in the middle of nowhere and need to know how strong the signal is and its accuracy, and the Edge Touring Plus provides this.

It also carries a useful function that means you can avoid unpaved roads or narrow trails.  It'll also offer circular routes depending on how far you want to cycle if you're happy to go discovering.

The Garmin Edge Touring Plus (L) uses the same casing as the sportier 810 (R)

We took it on a very short spin to take its photo, and it picked up satellites quickly. When we asked for a location with various on-road and off-road routes (we had a couple of false starts while we figured out its preferred postcode format), it automatically suggested the natural bike path route. As the off-road bike path was longer than the regular road option, it’s a decent suggestion of its orientation towards cycling.   

It might have been because of tree cover, but the computer did have a disconcerting tendency to reload the route – a longer test will resolve whether that's a fundamental issue or not.

When riding in traffic, the display switched from a general map to a layout of the road ahead with a clear direction arrow showing the direction to take. There was even a distance countdown to help us identify the correct turn. And when we went the other way, it automatically recalculated and found a turning at the next junction – exactly like a standard car GPS – rather than suggesting a U-turn in front of cars.

 It comes with two sets of regular quarter turn mounts and rubber hoops, so it's easy to swap it between bikes.

Stay tuned to BikeRadar for full review of the Edge Touring Plus.

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