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A few weeks ago Garmin announced the renewal of its entry model to the Edge range. The Garmin Edge 130 Plus is a small upgrade to the Edge 130 that the American manufacturer announced back in 2018. The initial concept is maintained - a very small and light bike computer - but now new features are added inherited from the rest of the range.
The initial model made a very good impression on me. In fact it has become my default device for races (well, when there were races...), but it is true that as a unique device it had certain limitations.
For example, it did not allow advanced Garmin or TrainingPeaks workouts, nor did it have ANT+ FE-C functionality to control a smart trainer. And in terms of metrics, it lacked some data such as nominal power or intensity factor, although we could add it through Connect IQ application without too much trouble.
The Edge 130 Plus comes to fill those gaps, adding support for advanced workouts and also offering the ability to control a smart trainer. But it's not the only thing, it also inherits functions from higher end models like ClimbPro or MTB metrics.
- Small and very light
- Display with good visibility despite the small size
- Although basic, navigation can be enough, especially thanks to ClimbPro
- Supports Garmin and TrainingPeaks workouts
- It allows smart trainer control
- There's only one profile to configure, we cannot have different settings depending on what we are going to do (road, MTB, competition...)
- Does not include advanced power metrics
- At the price of the Edge 130 Plus we can find the Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT
What's new on the Garmin Edge 130 Plus
Let's talk specifically about all the new features that the Edge 130 Plus introduces. None of them is new in the Garmin range, everything comes from the other models. So what Garmin does is to "democratize functions" and allow the most economical model of the range (and above all the smallest) to also enjoy all these benefits.
- Includes ClimbPro. One of the flagship features of high-end Garmin devices comes to the little one in the Edge family.
- Advanced structured workouts, created from Garmin Connect or downloaded from TrainingPeaks .
- Incident detection
- Up to 12 hours of battery life
- MTB metrics: Grit, Flow and jump measurement.
- Sony GNSS chipset
- Compatible with smart trainers (not at launch, will be in the future via firmware update)
Of all this the first two are the most important. It is on these "novelties" that I want to focus in this analysis, trying to make it a fairly quick test to read, especially considering that it is an evolution of the Garmin Edge 130 of which you have a much more detailed corresponding proof.
Which does not mean that I can't go through MTB metrics quickly. These are divided into three different aspects.
Provides a metric calculating the difficulty of a route. It uses factors such as ascent and descent speed, angle of rotation, etc. The higher that number, the harder the route is.
The score is about the hardness of the route, regardless of whether you're doing it faster or it's killing you. A route of 2,500m+ will be just as difficult for you as for Pogacar.
As for flow, here what it values is how well you do a route, especially on a flat or descent. The goal is not to have sudden speed changes. The lower the figure will signal that you have made the route more efficiently.
Unlike the difficulty, this metric can change completely between two riders on the same route, and if your partner is worse at cornering and brakes more on the way in, he will have a higher score than you (because the lower the number, the better).
Distance and duration of jumps
Every time you make a minimally interesting jump (getting down on the curb does not count) it will be recorded in the activity file, indicating how long you have been in the air, the approximate height you have reached and the speed at which you were moving.
This data can be seen at the time it is produced on the Edge 130 Plus screen, something I advise against as you should be aware of what you have in front of you. But you'll also see it in your activity once synced. It will also be collected on the activity map, being able to know where you have made the jump.
Finally, before moving to the specific section for ClimbPro (which is included within the navigation), remember that another new feature is the incident detection. Now the device has internal accelerometers that allow to identify when a sharp deceleration occurs.
When the Edge 130 Plus detects data that can be identified as a crash, it will send a help message to the contacts you've selected. This will be done through your mobile phone, so it has to be paired and you have to carry it over so it is able to send the notification.
And it will not only warn that an incident has occurred, it will also provide GPS coordinates.
The navigation of the Garmin Edge 130 Plus is the same as in the original Edge 130. That is, it only displays a breadcrumb but no basemap. It is something that in 2020 may seem very little advanced, but either way Edge 130 Plus is not a bike computer that is designed to perform many complicated navigation routes, mainly because of the size of its screen.
However, the navigation of the Edge 130 Plus receives a very interesting feature for a device of its size: ClimbPro.
If you have never used the ClimbPro feature, it is certainly one of the most interesting features offered by the new model. This function allows us to automatically see how much we have left on each climb, knowing the suffering that lies ahead.
And not only about the hill in course, you can also check how many climbs are left on your route and the details of each one (length and average slope).
It is a function that is part of the navigation because it is necessary to have a route loaded to show the climbs ahead of us, even if in the direction we are going that is the only road or path available. If you do not create a route or you synchronize it from another service, the data concerning the climbs will not be shown.
Before starting the navigation you will be able to see the general profile of the route.
We can access the new feature and check how many climbs we are going to find, its length, average slope and how far it is from where we are. We will also be able to see this during our route, logically updating the remaining distance until we reach that ascent.
Entering one of these climbs we will have all the details of it along with the approximate graph of what we are going to find.
The identification of these climbs is done automatically. When creating the route, we do not have to make any indication. When we reach one of the hills the ClimbPro screen will show up, showing us our location in the hill and relevant data about it.
On this screen you can see at the top what climb it is, distance and remaining positive meters and what is the hill profile both past and the one we are going to face. Below the graph we find the average slope for what we have left on the climb.
As I said earlier, navigation itself does not offer much because of the absence of a basemap (no more than what Edge 130 provided), but ClimbPro does represent a rather important help not for navigation, but for the information it offers us while we are climbing. Knowing what lies ahead of us and what it looks like is fundamental in order to measure how we use our power.
Structured workouts and TrainingPeaks compatibility
Within the importance of the new features presented in Edge 130 Plus I put ClimbPro at the same level as the possibility of performing interval training. Garmin also wants the Edge 130 Plus to be a bike computer that you can use to train, making it compatible with advanced workouts.
You can create a workout straight on Garmin Connect, or download it from TrainingPeaks if it is the platform you use.
What do you get with that? Well, you can perform interval workouts in which the bike computer guides you through the different phases, not only in time or distance but also in the target of each interval (power range, heart rate, etc.).
These workouts can be designed by yourself from Garmin's own platform (on the web or on the smartphone app), where you will select training, work intervals and cooling.
If your workouts are sent to you by a coach through TrainingPeaks, or you are subscribed to other supported platforms such as TrainerRoads, the device will download the workout you have on the calendar for the current day, and show it to you on the screen when you are going for a ride.
And if it's one you have in memory and you use it frequently, you can select it from your device options.
After accepting the downloaded workout the first thing that will show us is a summary screen of what will be our suffering for the day. First with a general image of the power graph (or heart rate or other target that is selected), and then with all the details for each step, which you can access by simply scrolling down with the buttons.
When you have already seen that, indeed, you will suffer, it is time to start training. In addition to the data pages you have created, you will have another workout specific screen that is added automatically.
Thanks to it you will be able to guide yourself through the workout knowing at all times where you are in it, the target power and the time remaining to finish the current interval. The arrow on the left will always tell you if you are on your target, above or below it.
Although when Garmin introduced the Edge 130 Plus, it still did not support smart trainers, it has already updated the device to have the full ANT+ FE-C profile.
What does that mean? The previous Garmin Edge 130 already allowed us to receive cadence, speed and power data from the trainer (it is nothing more than information from external sensors), but what we can do now is control the resistance of the trainer, provided it is smart.
With the Edge 130 Plus and your smart trainer, you can re-ride activities, follow a navigation route (the Edge will regulate the grade), set a certain incline or power, or follow a workout.
Perhaps this function is now somewhat less important given the proliferation of indoor training apps (Zwift, Bkool, etc.), which do just this. But the fact that the bike computer can be the brain of the smart trainer is an option that should not be ignored, especially if you want to free the screen to, for example, watch Netflix while riding.
Adding missing data fields
The biggest limitation of the Edge 130 Plus is the power support, not in the aspect of allowing it to be used with a power meter to measure power, but in the data it offers. The offer is quite limited, allowing only these power data to be selected:
- 3s average power
- Average power
- Lap average power
- Power kJ
- Maximum power
- Power zone
It may be sufficient for a large number of users, but more advanced users will be more limited because there is no trace of more advanced fields such as intensity factor, normalized power, 10s, 30s or 1s averages, etc. In this case two things must be taken into account.
The first is that there are metrics that aren't there simply because Garmin didn't want to add them. Nothing limits Garmin from providing an average of the last 10 seconds of power. Or instantaneous power (although few people will use it). This is an absence that Garmin makes of its own free will, not because of device limitation or any other limitation.
There is a second thing to consider and that is with the more specific metrics such as normalized power, TSS, intensity factor, etc. These metrics come from algorithms that, if included, Garmin would have to pay a fee for their use. And they have not been added given the most basic profile of this model -and its lower price-.
Although we must not forget that we have Connect IQ available for data fields, which opens the door to a multitude of applications. So what is not offered as standard 1TP10We can get it in a "parallel" way.
An application is available from the Connect IQ Store: Appbuilder. With it you can have all those data fields that Edge 130 Plus lacks and in a very simple way. But we have a limitation, we can't add more than two Connect IQ data fields to the activity profile, so you will have to choose which ones you want to add.
After installing the application you will have to configure the data field through the application on your smartphone.
Just enter the necessary data.
- Label: The name that the data field will have on the screen. In this case I have put the normalized power, so I have called it NP.
- Formula:Where does the formula come from? From the application examples page. Or from the instructions it displays, create your own data field.
- Display format:: To choose if we want decimals or not, or if it is a time or pace field.
- Record data to FIT file:If we want to save this data to the FIT file (and have it available in the workout analysis) we obviously need to select this option.
And with this you'll have your normalized power data field, something that the Edge 130 Plus doesn't offer as standard. It's also possible to put more than one value in the formula, so you can put more than one data in a single data field and be able to get around the limitation of up to two Connect IQ data fields.
In my case I have finally added a field to show three data (we are not limited to one, we can select several): lap normalized power, total normalized power and intensity factor. The formula used is this:
lapavg(timeavg(power,30,1)^4)^0.25 + '/' + avg(timeavg(power,30,1)^4)^0.25 + '/' + formatdecimal(avg(timeavg(power,30,1)^4)^0.25 / MY_FTP, 3)
However, I modified the formula after the photo to add decimals in the case of the intensity factor.
If you want to add a second field you will need to download another application (that's why there are the Appbuilder B, C, D, etc.) and repeat the configuration procedure, since when you select the data field you have created you will have to select the application where you have entered the field.
It's a great app that opens the door to a multitude of additional data fields (which you can also have on any other device, not just the Edge 130 Plus). And, if you like math you'll enjoy yourself by designing your own algorithms from all the variables you can use. Five stars without a doubt.
While in GPS watches we can find certain behaviors out of place, a bike computer having a GPS failure is something extremely strange. So beyond small location errors (which will be a matter of centimeters), I don't expect to find anything strange in the tracks of the different workouts I've done with the Edge 130 Plus.
There are several reasons that lead to this. First, the device is larger than a watch — even if the size difference is not too noticeable on the Edge 130 Plus-, so the antenna size is in line with its size.
The next thing we find is that its location is perfect, as it is placed on the handlebar with full visibility of the sky and its position hardly varies.
And if all that were not enough, the speed at which we move is much higher, which allows it to draw much cleaner tracks.
I'll give you a couple of examples of the workouts I've been doing these days, in which I haven't had any GPS problems. I'll start with the last one I did, a 60′ FTP test going up a mountain pass.
As always happens when it comes to watching tracks from afar, the first impression is that there are no issues on any of the three members of the comparison.
This is in the first minutes of training, where it has not yet triangulated with all available satellites. In general there are no problems, only the Polar Vantage M has opened the curve slightly (I wear it on the right wrist, so it is understandable that it has shifted to the right). But the turn of both the Garmin Edge 130 Plus and the Garmin Forerunner 745 was perfect.
This is the general tone that I have found in this training, even though it is done uphill so the speed of displacement is lower. The most "serious" thing that I have podido find on the part of the Edge 130 Plus is some occasional clipping in some curve, as in the image below.
But of course the most common has been perfect tracks on the three, both on the ascent as well as on the descent.
As I said at the beginning, we can find small, one-off errors. Here, for example, the Edge 130 Plus makes a strange left turn before entering the roundabout inexplicably. This happens about 200m after starting the workout, so I was still getting GPS coverage. But it is true that neither the Fenix 6 Pro Solar nor the Forerunner 745 do anything like that.
The truth is that this is the most conflicting point on the entire workout. A little further ahead is another roundabout, where this time it is the Edge 130 Plus that makes it perfectly, with the two watches moving slightly to the right.
However at the exit of the roundabout the Edge 130 Plus goes a little to the right, but we're talking about centimeters.
This situation is repeated at some other roundabout along the course, slightly cutting the exit.
But as soon as we are on a road without sharp turns such as traffic circles everything becomes tremendously boring and with nothing to highlight.
As for distance measurement, the three devices coincide with an error of 130m between the least and the one that has measured the most. That is 0.17% error, much lower than what would be an error that we should worry about.
In short, very little to highlight and all quite boring, which is frankly what I expected. As for the configuration for the tests, I performed them in the default GPS configuration (GPS only, no GLONASS or Galileo support, allowing for some battery savings).
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Garmin Edge 130 Plus opinion
Despite its small size, the Garmin Edge 130 Plus is quite well stocked with features. The initial model was a rather well-resolved option, and in this new version with the addition of ClimbPro, the support of advanced workouts and the ability to control a smart trainer makes it one of the cheapest options for training.
However, you must be very clear that what interests you most about this bike computer is its small size. If you're going to make a lot of routes or go through unfamiliar roads, the Edge 130 Plus won't be the best option. Navigation is practically reduced to using ClimbPro, more as a guide in the effort to make when seeing each of the climbs than to follow a route (because it's screen size and maps absence).
But as it's happening lately with Garmin, problems arise when we have to talk about the price. We can find the Wahoo ELMNT Bolt in the same range which, without having a much larger size and weight, offers a lot of functions that are frankly interesting (although we would lose ClimbPro).
Maybe Garmin is orienting this device to users like me, who simply want to supplement what they already have with a cheap unit that can serve sporadic uses like race days. In that sense the Edge 130 Plus works perfectly, but as a unique device and at the starting price, I certainly think the Wahoo is a more interesting option.
And with that... thanks for reading!