Garmin has produced a software update that will enable users of the Edge 510, 810 and 1000 to see Strava segments data in real time. Here is what you need to know.
It has been long awaited, but Garmin users can now see Strava segments in real time, as they ride, by way of a software update available to existing Garmin devices. Here we’ll show you exactly what the update does, how it well it works and how to set it up.
The update comes after Garmin previously announced details of the Edge 520 on the July 1. The Edge 520 was touted as the first bike computer compatible with Strava live segments and as of August 25, Garmin now offers this feature across the Edge 510, 810 and 1000 head units.
So what exactly is displayed? As soon as you approach one of your starred segments, it flashes up on your screen, giving you advanced warning usually 200-300m out.
By default the segment screen automatically compares you to the fastest time of the athletes you follow. If none of your Strava friends have ridden the segment, it will default to your PR.
This was initially confusing as I thought I was taking KOMs left, right and centre only to find I was only beating all my friends, who didn’t necessarily have the KOM.
If you want to compare yourself to the KOM/QOM you have two options.
You can go through each individual segment stored on your Garmin and manually switch it to compare against KOM/QOM, or when the segment screen appears, you can swipe across at the top of the screen.
Neither are ideal solutions and Garmin informs me that a future software update will allow users to set the KOM/QOM as the default comparison on all segments.
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The segment screen is much like a virtual partner screen and tells you the distance left to go, if you are ahead or behind, and by how many seconds. It works well, although at present you cannot customise the screen, meaning you can’t view power or heart rate data for example.
You can swipe off the screen, back on to your normal screens if you wish though. Once again, future software updates should allow for customisation of the data fields.
Results are calculated and displayed as soon as the segment ends. If you take the KOM/QOM you are informed that the result is ‘provisional until sync.’ This means that if someone else does a quicker time than you before you upload it, but after your last sync, then you won’t have taken the segment.
There is also the option to turn on segment guidance to direct you to the start of a segment. I found that my Garmin Edge 1000 struggled with this and crashed a couple of times. I don’t really think it is necessary.
To use Strava Live, you’ll need to update your Garmin device. The easiest way to do this is to log in to Garmin Connect and plug in your device, where upon the software should update automatically.
Once completed, you should be ready to go! You can wirelessly get the update too if you have an Edge device which is compatible with wireless updates.
How do you get segments on your device? One important thing to note is that the Strava Live Segments feature is only available to Strava Premium users, with Strava Premium currently costing £3.99 a month or £39.99 for the year.
The easiest way to do this is by logging into Strava on a desktop or laptop computer. Once logged in, proceed to ‘star’ the segments you would like to appear. You should also sync your Garmin Connect account with your Strava Premium account.
I found that by syncing my smart phone (with the Strava and Garmin apps installed) to my Garmin device it would immediately Bluetooth segments I had starred onto the device.
You don’t need to have your phone continually paired to your device, once you’ve starred a segment and it’s on your device, it will remain there, unless you ‘unstar’ it or delete it on the device.
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How well does it work? I sense that it is by no means the finished article and will no doubt be improved by future software/firmware updates that Garmin will release.
I found that not all the segments I starred appeared when I wanted them too and it appeared to be a bit of a lottery, especially when segments overlapped.
If segments overlap, there is no option to select a particular one. Garmin also informed me that segments not always appearing could be down to GPS signal strength variations.
It is however great fun and very useful for taking KOM/QOMs. It can be used to give you the added motivation or incentive to push a little bit further than you normally would when doing intervals.
For those of you that love Strava, it’s awesome.