Garmin and Shimano Di2 can now control bike lights

Garmin also adds Strava Beacon and other features to newer Edge computers

Riders who have Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and a new Garmin Edge computer can now control certain ANT+ bike lights with the buttons on the tops of Di2 hoods. Garmin announced a few new updates to the Edge 520, 820 and 1000 computers on the first day of Interbike.

Back at the 2014 Eurobike trade show, I overheard Garmin and Shimano staff talking about ways to integrate the buttons on the top of Di2 hoods with Edge computers. That came to fruition at the end of 2014, but in order to get it to work you needed the D-Fly plug-in. Despite the hood buttons sitting quite close to a Garmin, the required plug-in usually connected at the rear derailleur to make the two systems communicate on ANT+. The newer Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 now does away with the need for the D-Fly plug-in (and SRAM eTap never required any additional hardware to communicate with Garmin Edge and other computers on ANT+).

Regardless of which Di2 system is used, the latest Garmin Edge software update lets users control any bike lights that work on ANT+, including the GPS giant's own Varia and Trek's Bontrager Transmitr line of lights. You can program the Di2 buttons on the hoods to turn the lights on and off, and/or toggle through the settings.

When connected via ANT+ to a newer Garmin Edge, the Di2 levers can operate certain bike lights
When connected via ANT+ to a newer Garmin Edge, the Di2 levers can operate certain bike lights

Further, users can configure Bontrager Flare RT, Ion 350 RT or Ion 700 RT lights to turn on whenever they turn on their Edge computer, and the ambient light sensor in the Edge 820 and Edge 1000 will adjust the light accordingly.

Other Garmin software updates include the addition of Strava Beacon, a feature for Strava Premium members that lets them share their location in real-time with up to three people. This feature will work in tandem with Garmin's LiveTrack feature, which requires a smartphone connected to an Edge computer on Bluetooth.

Speaking of LiveTrack, the newer Edge units can be configured to automatically start LiveTrack and GroupTrack whenever they start an activity with their smartphone paired on Bluetooth. 

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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