Garmin hasn’t always been a name synonymous with cycling. It all started back in 1983, in Lenexa Kansas, with a completely different identity, but in saying that the overall goal has remained since then: to provide navigational systems that utilise the Global Positioning System, and that are “Built to Last.”
Gary Burrell originally hired Min H. Kao and together they started ProNav, a company that developed units to work with the GPS. They were first contracted as a military supplier to the U.S. Army in ’91, and they soon changed their name, combining their surnames to create the company identity we know today.
Developing and selling GPS units was (and still is) a very profitable business, their annual sales breaking the $100 million mark by ’95 with a profit margin of $23 million.
Things didn’t slow down from the nineties until now. Garmin was selling products in 100 countries by the year 2000 and has since expanded to provide technologies for the marine, aviation, motoring, cycling, fitness and outdoor industries.
Today, Garmin offers a range of cycling technologies and accesories suitable for every type of rider, whether you are racing, commuting to work, or touring and adventuring on your bike.
The Garmin Edge 20 and Edge 25 range are compact, lightweight GPS connected cycling computers that are perfect for the recreational rider, or for those who are travelling and need to conserve pack space.
The Edge 520 is designed for recreational and competitive riders who require a little bit more information. Still with all the usual GPS connectivity, but providing you with the likes of Strava live segments, recovery time suggestions, and power metre compatibility.
For those who are spending a little bit more time in the saddle and getting well off the beaten track, the Edge Touring and Edge Explore 1000 are like a car’s navigation device for your bike, providing you with visual maps of your rides and excellent satellite reception, even when you are well away from civilisation.
The Garmin 1000 takes it to the next level; the cycling computer for the serious competitive and professional cyclist the 1000 is packed full of features. Like a smartphone for your ride and a cars inbuilt GPS combine, the Garmin 1000 out performs both in terms of battery life, GPS accuracy and resistance to the elements.
Garmin has also released its own personal video recorder with the overall aim of creating the potential for a fully-connected cyclist. You can record you rides, and take still photos on the go, then download that footage to show it to your friends later. This technology can also be useful for commuters in case of an accident, you’ll have direct evidence of the incident as the events unfold.
Creating a network of connected technologies that work together to help the cyclist has been Garmin’s goal for a while. Varia bike lights work with you Garmin 1000 cycle computer, dimming and getting brighter depending on your speed. They are also capable of alerting you when traffic is approaching from behind, capable of detecting vehicles up to 140 metres behind you; all of these feature working to make riding – whether it is to work, on a race, on the trail or touring – safer and more enjoyable.
Developing some of the most advanced pedal systems available means that Garmin is able to give their riders a constant stream of feedback regarding their performance on the bike. Garmin Vector clip-in pedals act as single or dual-sensing pedal based power metres meaning they can gather information about power right where it is applied, measure your left to right balance and cadence, and send all that information to your Garmin cycle computer.
Garmin, as of 2015 currently sponsors the Cannondale-Garmin professional road racing team throughout the UCI Grand tour events such as the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France. Working closely with riders of the highest level means that Garmin has the best test subjects in the world for developing their already successful technologies. The feedback given by those riders is taken into consideration in the development of that tech and eventually trickles down to you, the everyday rider; whether you be the casual weekend warrior, or a budding race professional.