Garmin has just added to the broad suite of health and fitness features offered by select models of its cycling computer and smartwatch line-up. The new Edge 1040 head units and the Fēnix 7, Epix (Gen 2) and the Instinct 2 smatch watches, are all recipients of this latest release.
The free software updates are available now. In order to benefit from added features without any hassle, you can simply enable automatic updates on your device or on Garmin Express. But for now, let’s run through what this update will bring.
Garmin Edge 1040 series updates
Garmin overhauled its flagship cycle computer this summer, with the new Garmin Edge 1040 Solar boasting useful solar recharging capabilities, a more intuitive user experience and much more accurate GPS data – you can find our first ride review on the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar here.
The huge range of features was already notable amongst the best cycling computers already on the market. But even so, Garmin isn’t holding up and has continued to improve existing features and integrate new ones…
Garmin has added its ‘Training Status’ feature which gives you an overview of your longer-term training habits to help you see how your training is progressing – and to enable you to better plan the timing and targets of your session to ensure progress and avoid overtraining.
“Using new indicators such as HRV status, recent exercise history and performance, [users can] receive insight into overall effort and whether training is productive, peaking or strained,” Garmin says.
HRV stands for heart rate variability and this is a measure of variances in the frequency of your heart beats, which can be influenced by various factors in and outside of your training.
Cycling regularly is important for keeping fit and getting faster on the bike. Health organisations recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Similar health benefits are said to be achieved by getting at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity.
Select Garmin smartwatches automatically track those moderate and vigorous activity minutes throughout the week and present them as ‘intensity minutes’. “Vigorous intensity minutes are counted twice to reflect the larger benefit they have on your body compared to moderate intensity,” Garmin explains.
If using an Edge 1040 cycling computer with a compatible Garmin smartwatch you can see when Garmin’s ‘intensity minutes’ were earned during each ride.
Full electric bike support is now provided on Garmin’s Edge 1040 cycling computers.
By connecting an ANT or ANT+ compatible e-bike you can now view custom e-bike data, adjust assistance levels and see remaining range based on a planned course.
If you like to safely listen to music or podcasts while cycling, you’ll be pleased to know that music playback can be controlled directly on the Garmin Edge device – so long as it’s paired with a compatible smartphone.
It is a useful update, but not one that requires so much exposition on its purpose or function. In the meantime, you might want to check out our buyer’s guide to the best headphones for cycling with sound here.
Garmin fēnix 7 series, epix (Gen 2), Instinct 2 series smartwatch updates
Smartwatches can be better value than cycling computers as they give you 24/7 health monitoring – and Garmin’s latest updates to select smartwatch models aim to build on this.
The ‘Training Status’ feature detailed above can also be found on the Garmin Fēnix 7 series, Epix (Gen 2), and Instinct 2 series smartwatches. Other notable updates include…
“To help maximise battery life, SatIQ will automatically turn on multi-band GPS in areas where it’s needed most, like narrow canyons or downtown areas with tall buildings, then turn it off when it’s no longer needed to ensure athletes get the most out of their battery,” Garmin explains.
If you’re using the smartwatch on multi-day bikepacking trips, or any other situation where accuracy needs to be balanced with using batteries efficiency, this does sound a very useful update.
Come race day, there can be nerves to battle and a lot on your mind. So, to help you out on the all-important day, Garmin has collated all the data you need into one ‘race prep’ widget. This includes race day-specific performance prediction, race day weather and a countdown clock.
Garmin’s smartwatches are not just about keeping you up-to-date with your fitness progress, the latest software update also keeps you in touch with up to 50 stocks so you can monitor prices and trends throughout the day.
Seeing just how far Bitcoin has fallen may not be the best motivation while exercising, but Garmin is having to compete with more generalist smartwatches too, so perhaps this shouldn’t come as so much of a surprise.