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Garmin Edge 1040 Review
Garmin Edge 1040 is obviously better than its predecessors but this is an optional upgrade that will ultimately cost Garmin customers, here’s a review that tells you why.
In a nutshell: 1040 Represents Pure, Creeping Evolution but not enough evolution to warrant an upgrade from the 1030+ and not enough to encourage a switch from competitor brands. I don’t see any change in any direction to tempt anyone away from Wahoo and, as my local bike store said, “Wahoo is taking chunks out of Garmin’s market share“.
The majority of owners of much older Garmin Edges will still stay within the Garmin ecosystem and the Edge 1040 is a great bikenav for them to upgrade to. A new cyclist or disgruntled owner of an older, less reliable Garmin Edge might move to a Hammerhead Karoo or Wahoo Bolt 2 for either the ‘Wow’ factor or the ‘Just works’ factor, respectively.
The price? #Ouch, Even at $600, I still bought one. I buy all Garmin products with my own money. I have no relationship with Garmin, they exert zero influence. I don’t even get a press release. Read on if you want to hear how good the Garmin Edge 1040 is in detail. One more thing, please buy from one of the links here as it helps support the ongoing independence and months of real, in-depth testing on a whole raft of endurance tech products, thank you…you’re awesome! Let’s start with a summary as I know you are all busy.
Garmin Edge 1040 Review - Lasts Longer. Increases Accuracy. Costs The Most.
Price - 85%
Apparent Accuracy - 95%
Build Quality & Design - 90%
Features, Including App - 95%
Openness & Compatability - 95%
Garmin Edge 1040 Review - Summary
The Garmin Edge 1040 is the best performance bikenav. It has all the features from the Edge 1030+and the addition of Stamina, Power Guides, Course Demands, Cycling Ability and an impressive Solar option. Interaction with key features is improved compared to all earlier Edge bike computers by adding Widgets to a revamped Home Screen and by many design tweaks throughout Garmin’s extensive list of features. If you want the latest and greatest Bikenav then this is for you but existing Edge 1030/1030+ owners need to think carefully before pressing the upgrade button.
The Edge 1040 is the pinnacle of bike computers with the best array of navigation tools and a great big screen to pack full of performance metrics & maps. Dedicated performance cyclists know that all their sports sensors can be attached and that they have all the choices they need to send their workouts back to their coach or to 3rd party training platforms like Training Peaks & Final Surge.
Garmin’s global maps and new cycle-type specific heatmaps support a complete solution for routing and navigation but if you prefer to grab your routes from Strava, RwGPS or Komoot then all is good there too.
The physical package is robust and long-lasting enough to handle multi-day, off-road adventures or that pesky commute to the office. Battery life is further boosted into the stratosphere with Solar and the super-accurate new GPS chip delivers notably better accuracy under trees or in urban canyons compared to all competitors.
Naturally, you get a built-in Altimeter, a Barometer and a Magnetic Compass. Linking to your phone further delivers rich cycling data to display weather, accident notifications, tracking and smart notifications.
Prior-generation Garmin owners from over 4 years ago endured too many button presses and screen swipes to enjoy the Garmin experience – this is now significantly improved. Using Edge 1040 is far more intuitive and quicker than anything that came before but I’ll be saying the same thing in 5 years when Garmin has delivered the improvements that are still needed.
Edge 1030plus owners won’t find too many truly meaty reasons to upgrade and might want to wait a few more months to see which of the new features, interface improvements and speed improvements make their way to them.
- A saddlebag full of Garmin navigation features and feature-full maps
- Every performance feature
- Most of Garmin’s physiology features
- Cycling’s most unnecessarily accurate GPS (GNSS) to date
- Super-impressive battery life that will definitely last longer than your legs even when navigating. Battery packs or solar will boost further.
- ANT+, BlueTooth, WiFi, CIQ apps & FE-C connects everything
- Garmin’s open platform connects it everywhere
- Garmin assumes you ride with a phone and didn’t add LTE & NFC payments.
- Garmin Edges can’t get all the physiology features that come from smartwatches…you don’t sleep with your Edge after all.
- Power Guide/FTP give incorrect recommendations for me.
- Up to 5-second lags in part of the menus
- GPS-based grade lags by up to 50m and zeros when stationary
What’s The Same
The Edge 1040 remains Garmin’s pinnacle bike computer and will get all the new features for several years but that will also be true of the upcoming, smaller Edge 840 and 540. The Edge 1040 is simply Garmin’s largest GPS bike computer with a bigger touchscreen and longer battery life than the 840/540.
It’s not Garmin’s best it’s Garmin’s biggest.
Thus the Edge 1040 squarely aims at those who frequently navigate or who just want a bigger screen.
The Edge 1040 is broadly similar in appearance to the Edge 1030plus. If you looked closely you would see the addition of a USB-C charging port, a repositioned tether hole and a metal twist mount.
Under the hood, hardware improvements see the addition of a new, super-accurate GNSS chip and a solar charging option – that’s pretty much it. Headline battery life with GPS is improved from 24 hours (1030+) to an impressive 35 hours even without any solar boost.
Turning to usability, we see that Garmin has again tinkered with the layout of many menus and options. It works more logically now than before but the visual aesthetic remains bland and regressive. I like the improvements to the home screen with the addition of widgets but there’s still plenty of room for improvement, for example by wasting less screen real estate.
So that just leaves the features ie the problems that the Edge 1040 can now newly solve for you. There is a long enough list of mini feature-tweaks that dcrainmaker lists in his Garmin Edge 1040 review but few stand out to say “BUY ME“. Except maybe these…
This is new(ish) – Stamina
Garmin’s latest headline metric is stamina, which is making its way to all high-end sports devices.
Stamina combines the progressively negative effect of fatigue throughout the exercise with the more debilitating hits your body takes when you dig into your anaerobic reserve. If your power (or heart rate) zones are correct then stamina gives meaningful insights to help you pace yourself. For example, if you ease off a hard effort, you can recover your stamina levels back to POTENTIAL and you also get an estimated distance that your current stamina levels cover.
Full details: Garmin Stamina
This is new – Ride Type Maps
There are still free global maps but the non-Solar version comes only with your region pre-installed. The bonus is that you now also get heatmaps specific to the kind of riding you want to do – gravel, for example.
Trip Resources (POIs) also become searchable. Want a nearby coffee or a replacement inner tube? You got it.
This is not new to Garmin’s stable of features – Easier Setup & Configuration
Your new Edge 1040 might recognise previous setups you had and automatically get your configuration off to a quick start by, for example, using all the ANT+ and BLE sensors from your last Edge. You will also find that the Connect app now lets you optionally set most of the 1040’s settings on your smartphone. But these are one-off trivialities and not a reason to buy an Edge 1040.
There is also a CIQ app store on the Edge.
I found the setup poor, it wouldn’t pair with my iPhone 12 for 15 minutes, didn’t find any previously paired sensors and the CIQ store is devoid of anything useful right now. Really poor.
This is new – Analysis & Targetting Features
Workouts now have secondary targets. #Shrug.
Less of a shrug is the new Cycling Ability feature from Firstbeat. The feature is heavily based on the existing 4-Week Load Focus metric which determines how you have invested your training intensities be that aerobically or anaerobically or for extended endurance rides. But the new Cycling Ability feature offers little more than a descriptive context to your Load Focus (image below)
This is new – Power Guide & Course Demands
Course Demands simply analyses the elevation profile of a route that you supply and suggests the ideal cycling abilities (Load Focus) required to nail that course, contrasting that to your actual Load Focus. It’s certainly interesting and naive in equal measure.
Q: But how do you ride that course on race day? It’s too late then to adjust your training.
A: Use the new Power Guide Feature. Constant power is generally assumed to be optimal for perfect pacing. That’s not quite the case and solo riders going for best times on more complex routes that involve winds and gradients will probably need to push harder up hills. But how hard? And how easy should the downhills be? Best Bike Split has, for many years, offered tailored power strategies to answer that conundrum and now Garmin gets in on the game with Power Guide.
Q: What if you have accumulated fatigue at the start?
A: I would kinda hope that Garmin automatically factors this in but they appear not to. You can, however, manually compensate for tiredness by toning the Guide Effort Level up or down for the entire course.
Each section of your route has a target power and Garmin offers a dedicated pacing screen to guide your efforts over each section. This is a good solo feature in principle but with very restricted real-world use cases like that regional TT Championship or just to get a PB/PR around your local park.
Garmin does not correctly recognise my FTP and Power Guide is heavily dependent on FTP in its calculations. If I followed Power Guide on local routes that I know extremely well Power Guide definitely paces me too slowly even with the Guide Effort Level maxed out to 100%. It will be a nice but niche feature when it’s finished.
It is possible to manually set a correct FTP. I did this on one course that I know will take me 39 minutes or less on a TT bike. Garmin said it would take about an hour and needed an average of 94% of my FTP. That was with a setting of the ‘hardest’ goal effort with the correct FTP. Power Guide had me doing 160% of FTP up some of the hills which seems WAY too high for me.
Bascially, this feature is pants in its current implementation.
Tweaked – Daily Workout Suggestions
Daily workout suggestions are improved to more actively target your race day when previously they mostly maintained fitness.
This is a welcomed and sensible improvement but I don’t know anyone who uses Daily Workout Suggestions as a plan directed at race day. It’s best used as a way to fill occasional days with sensible, progressive workouts.
This is new – Solar
Garmin adds new Power Glass solar charging. Solar performance obviously varies but you can typically expect a 10-20% battery boost or at most 30%.
The new Edge 1040 is 2g heavier and 1mm thicker than the Edge 1030 plus. It now comes with a metal rear mount and re-positioned tether holes.
The Edge 1040 Solar has 64Gb of onboard storage whereas the non-Solar model has 32Gb and the latter is unchanged from the Edge 1030 plus.
Edge 1040 also has a gyroscope. Now you know. Gyrating will be significantly easier as a result (it probably boosts the accuracy of incident detection & maybe also grade change detection)
Garmin Edge 1040 Alternatives – Comparison to Karoo, Elemnt & Dash
There are several alternatives to the Edge 1040 and perhaps the best navigation option to consider is the Hammerhead Karoo 2 which beats the Edge 1040 with its better screen and better looks. The Karoo does have really good mapping options but Garmin’s ace up the sleeve will always be the heatmaps that competitors can’t match.
The Wahoo Roam is simply easier to use than all other advanced bike computers but its focus is as a performance bike computer whose maps are ‘functional’, if you navigate a lot then give the Roam a miss. The Dash L200 is newly released and, like the Roam, is more focused as a performance bike computer that can also offer competent navigation but is not up to the same standards as Garmin.
All these bike computers have a rich set of features and good ecosystems, however, none matches the physiology data on offer in the Edge 1040.
Garmin Edge 1040 Accuracy & Performance Tests
I was extremely impressed with the battery performance when navigating on long rides. These are two full days of testing when following a route with TBT and with significant sections of going off-route (requiring re-routing). On the second day, I had the map screen on show almost all of the time to try to deplete the battery – I failed!
Each day used battery-gobbling Multi-band GNSS and, as you can see, the Edge 1040’s battery happily handled a big day on the trails.
If you follow routes and navigate a lot you will probably have always had worries about the battery lasting the day. If you crank the Edge 1040 down to use GPS-only it should easily navigate you for a whole weekend with no need to recharge. It’s very impressive. (Note: My tests showed very little difference in battery life with GPS-only, probably a bug)
Elevation performance is also excellent – with one caveat.
The raw elevation tracks are great. Even over the two long rides from the battery test, above, I had no significant issues with the elevation. A minor glitch seemed to be with elevation changes when stationary but the Edge 1040 was significantly better than the Wahoo Bolt 2 in this respect.
The only problem is with the responsiveness of the grade metric on the Edge 1040, it’s just too laggy. I was forced to stop on an off-road grade that exceed 20% and at this point, the grade reset to 0% (zero) even though I was following a course. Pushing the bike up the remainder of the hill it became obvious that the live grade metric works from 3D-GPS changes and that several seconds or up to about 50m can be required to show the correct grade.
GPS accuracy in multi-band mode is generally excellent when used on roads to the point where there is nothing worth showing you. The following examples are through some heavily forested areas in Southern England including parts of the South Downs Way. I compare the 1040 to the 955 Solar which is using GPS-only and to the Bolt 2. I had some trouble here determining if the bike computers’ tracks were correct as the paths marked by Google were sometimes wrong. Tentatively it looks like the Edge 1040 beats the accuracy of the marked trails on the satellite images in forests! and is certainly better than the Bolt and 955.
Full Route Link: dcranalyzer
Garmin Edge 1040 Specifications
|Garmin Edge 1040 Specifications|
|Dimension||2.3″ x 4.6″ x 0.8″ (59.3 x 117.6 x 20.0 mm)|
|Display||3.5″ (88.9 mm) diagonal, 282x470px|
|Battery Life||45 hours|
|Weight||4.7 oz (133 g)|
|Power Glass solar charging||(Optional)|
|Battery type||Rechargeable lithium-ion|
|Battery Boosts||Battery Save Mode, Solar (optional), Battery Pack (optional)|
|Basemap||Preloaded Garmin cycle map|
|Ability to add maps||Yes|
|Storage||32Gb (64Gb Solar)|
|Navigation Routes||100 Courses|
|History||Up to 200 hours|
|GNSS||Glonass+GPS+Galileo and Multi-Band|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes|
|ANT+, FE-C, WiFi, CIQ5, BLE||Yes|
Opinion – Garmin Edge 1040 Review
Keep your Edge 1030/1030plus for now.
There are reasons to upgrade to an Edge 1040 just not very compelling ones – crazy battery life, solar, accuracy, the stamina feature and the Power Guide Feature. Save your money unless you want the latest, greatest, largest Edge or unless you know that the few new additions solve a specific problem for you.
If you are a Time Triallist or need uber battery life for multi-day adventures…go for the new features. Otherwise, wait.
Price & Availability
Grab one while you can, all recent Garmin launches have been initially short of stock. Beware retailers who claim to have stock but don’t. You might have to go direct to Garmin in June and I learned in the USA that Amazon.com will not have stock for a month. Links in the USA include Power Meter City which is highly reputable.
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