Garmin announced a pair of GPS cycling head units today, the full-featured Edge 1030 Plus ($599.99 to $699.99) and the budget-oriented Edge 130 Plus ($199.99 to $249.99). On the minus side, today’s announcement lists a lot of legacy features. On the plus side, this is the value of vessels that receive periodic firmware updates: You don’t have to wait for a new unit before getting a finished feature.
In broad strokes, the 130 Plus is a hardware upgrade to give it some of the other x30 features; the 1030 Plus (top two photos) is more of a software update to roll in some of the 530/830 features. The 130 Plus (bottom two photos) gets an accelerometer, which probably enables most of the other new features. It gets Incident Detection and ClimbPro. Then there’s a bunch of MTB Dynamics that I’ll never use but you might.
The 1030 Plus gets a Bike Alarm and a few other doo-dads, the memory got doubled, and there is a nice new TT/tri mount we’ll all like, but I have no details on it, and sadly I don’t have a picture of the mount show you yet. Let’s get into it.
Garmin obviously values stationary as a market, because of its acquisition of Tacx. You can tell a lot about the management of a company by how well it absorbs its acquisitions, whether there’s a lot of infighting and territory protection among the various staffs, or whether they’re all-in on the integration. The body language of this head unit release is that both brands are headed toward a common goal, which is full bore toward full stationary functionality. The head units pair with the NEO trainers, but I think they already did. When we write in more depth we’ll discuss this also in the context of the Tacx utility that controls the trainers themselves.
More impactful is the capacity of these head units to import workouts directly from apps like Training Peaks and TrainerRoad and this is both an indoor and outdoor play. This speaks to a commitment to Garmin Connect, and perhaps to a bypassing of STRAVA as the gateway. “Designed for year-round riding,” Garmin says, “the Edge 130 Plus and Edge 1030 Plus allow cyclists to sync indoor and outdoor workouts automatically from Garmin ConnectTM or other training apps, including TrainingPeaks® and TrainerRoad, right to their device.”
These head units have been able to accept downloadable training plans for a while. What is announced is the capacity to build a structured workout in one of these online apps and sync it right to the head unit. This is for either an indoor or outdoor workout: You can get real-time interval guidance to do an equivalent workout outside. Your screen would tell you to ride at so-many watts for 3min, then back off for 3min. If TrainerRoad (especially) and TrainingPeaks seek to more effectively transfer workouts to outdoor rides, this update is a signal that Garmin wants to enable that.
Full-featured, One-stop Data Display
I’m out of my depth here, but it seems to me that Garmin has been getting pressure on one end – from Polar and Suunto – to do more with workout data. On the other end, Garmin is placing pressure on the Fitbit part of the market, perhaps in the way that Zwift places pressure on the Peloton market. It’s top-down pressure. A colleague of ours just bought a Garmin scale. Bathroom scale. You stand on the scale and whoosh, your weight flies up an into Garmin Connect, triggering as much instruction, prompting and data management as you’d ever want. My colleague’s spouse steps on the same scale, the scale knew exactly who stood on it, and whooshed the data to a separate Garmin Connect account. It appears one part of this launch was to bring that mass of functionality over to its cycling head units.
The Edge130 Plus and Edge1030 Plus both feature ClimbPro. It is very cool, because it tells you how many major climbs are left on the ride, and gives you details when you are in on a climb. This is a screen I routinely have on the HU when I ride – whether it’s Garmin’s ClimbPro or Wahoo’s analog to it – especially during road trips and/or when it’s a course that’s new to me and features a lot of climbs. There's an image of what this display looks like in the pic highest above.
Obviously Garmin is the marquis brand in bike safety just on the strength of the Varia rear radar. But there's more than just the Varia, and safety is a big theme of this new product family launch.
LiveTrack has been around since at least from the x20 generation. It and Incident Detection require a smart phone connection. With LiveTrack enabled your family knows where you are.
Incident Detection detects a crash and it will send an SOS message to your emergency contact unless you disable it. This is a late comer to the x30 devices. A colleague recently had to panic-stop to avoid a car on a training ride a couple of weeks ago, and he got a frantic phone call from his wife. She had just received a text message alerting her to an accident. Nevertheless, his wife, “loves it, even with the false alarm.”
We’ll write in more detail about these as we twist them into their mounts and hike our legs over our top tubes, which will be forthcoming.