Product Review: GARMIN 20

Left to right: 205,500,200

I have to say in the bike world Im kind of a trendsetter. Or not a trendsetter per say but I catch the latest trend quicker. Case in point was my 1X11 road bike. You’re going to see more of those trust me.

Back in the day it was the Garmin GPS, amongst others. Take a look at that Edge 205 on the left. I believe that was the first offering from Garmin back in 2004 (I think). I was the absolute first in our group to get one of those fancy GPS thingies. The 205 still kinda works a little. Back in the day it took 5 minutes to get all the satellites and we lived with that back then.

We have all seen the 800 and the 1000 series. Those things are huge. For me, they were too big on the bar. I just did not like that. Also, its nice to get some info from your ride but for me, a guy not training to hit the Tour, was just way too much info. Heck, the 500 has too much info for me.

Here comes the Garmin 20 and 25. They cost way less and do way less which is way more in my book. First off, look at the size. Its tiny. While the smallest computer is not what Im looking for I really did not want to go bigger than the 500\510 so I gave the little guy a try.

The 20 retails at $139 and the 25 at $199 with cadence sensor. The good sensor that straps on to you crank arm only. Nothing on the frame. The 25 also is bluetooth and can use a HR monitor too. With bluetooth you can sync with any phone app. The 20 can’t do anything like that. Its just the computer and nothing else.

I actually have the 25 cuz I do heart rate once in a while. But not a lot.

The 20\25 is super easy to use and has three screens. One is the time of day only, the second has 3 things to show, the third has two. On the second I have ride time, MPH and distance. The third screen I have mpg ave and elevation. Like any Garmin you can pick and choose what shows up where but your options are half of what my 500 has. Between the 5 things you many can pick from 8 different data things to show. Pretty basic. No power or anything like that. Which is fine by me. Also, everything is still completely able to download to Garmin Connect.


So this is what the “main” screen looks like. Again, the top is elapsed time, the middle is mph and the bottom is distance. Pretty basic. Very functional. You can set it to scroll all three screens or manually select them as you please.

As far as satellite hook up this little guy is the fastest I’ve ever seen. Less than a minute each time. Look at the first pic above. The old 205 isnt even close to go time, the 500 is thinking about it and the 200 is ready to go. I read somewhere that this unit also uses Russian satellites along with the ones that Ron Reagan put up there. Im not a tech geek but I was told more satellites means better accuracy. Not that I had a problem with accuracy before. Battery time is about 10 hours, pretty much the same as the 500\510. However, it charges up way faster. Maybe half the time as my 3 year old 500.

It fits a lot nicer on a crowded bar like my tour bike.

There is definitely a market for this computer. You dont need to be a I.T. guy to run it and set it up. For  GPS it’s inexpensive and it’s smaller but not harder to read. I see people with higher end units have 9 things on their screen at once and the numbers are so small a human can’t see any of it. On the 20\25 there is less to see and even with the smaller screen the numbers are big enough for me to see the stuff without my cheater glasses on.

All in all its a unit I can use. Again, if you need to know everything at all times its not for you. If you use these things for specific training its not for you.

If you’re just a rider who puts in a few miles now and then and want a GPS computer its for you. It tells me all I want to know. And nothing I dont need to know.


Wa da ya think?

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