Is the Garmin Edge Explore 2 the anti-stress bike computer we've been waiting for?

Charge on the fly and do away with distracting performance stats for cyclists who just want to ride their (e-)bike

Garmin Edge Explore 2 in this image is on the handbars of a bike with someones hand hovering over to use it.
(Image credit: Garmin)

Just a month after the launch of the Garmin Edge 1040 the new Garmin Edge Explore 2 offers a different, some would argue more relaxing, take on the GPS bike computer. It foregoes most of the deep data displaying of other Edge models and, when combined with the Edge Explore 2 Power Mount bundle, can be charged on the move.

While the Edge 1040 Solar uses the sun's rays to charge, the Edge Explore 2 and Power Mount lets you plug into a compatible Bosch or Shimano electric bike battery to provide a claimed 16-hours of battery life. That's up from 12-hours for the previous Explore and trumps even the best cycling computers and GPS units on battery life.   

The Edge Power Mount is also compatible with Cannondale SmartSense equipped bikes such as the Cannondale Synapse. To use your e-bike's juice you will need the additional  $49.99/ £39.99 Power Mount Cable.  

The Power Mount itself is backwards compatible with the Garmin Edge 1040, Edge 1030, Edge 830 and Edge 530 computers.

Garmin Edge Explore 2 with e-bike battery metrics displayed

Doing away with rider stats in favour of battery assist ones

(Image credit: Garmin )

Since it's launch in 2018 the Garmin Edge Explore has eschewed most of the usual performance data metrics that bike GPS computers are synonymous with in an effort to make it more useful to the everyday rider.

This means it records speed, time and distance, and you can pair it with a heart rate monitor. It'll also pair with a power meter, but you won't be able to deep dive into the numbers on your unit. (You can download free data fields from the Garmin Connect IQ store.)

That's not to say you can't look at performance data as you ride - it just won't be yours! Assuming you have a compatible e-bike that's ANT+®LEV compatible , you will be able to see a dedicated status screen showing data fields, including battery life and even navigation alerts based on the bike's data.

Smart routing and range alerts based on battery status and assist level for your planned course could make battery guess work now a thing of the past, allowing you to keep your zen-like state on non-performance metric measured rides.

This feature could be a gamechanger, especially for any e-bike owner that has felt that intense range anxiety induced by a single bar battery display while still miles from home.

Garmin Edge Explore 2 displaying a ride type map and navigation in red lines

The Garmin Edge Explore 2 uses ride-type-specific routing

(Image credit: Garmin )

The Edge Explore 2 also sticks to it's naming heritage, with exploring very much the main aim in terms of mapping.

Using the intelligence gathered via Garmin Connect journeys, the Trendline mapping system uses ride-type-specific routing, meaning cyclists can, according to Garmin, ride like locals, using popular roads and trails, while avoiding high traffic areas.

The turn by turn navigation system is also compatible with courses created on Strava, Komoot and, of course, it's own Garmin Connect app.

Other neat features including improved smartphone connectivity for safety tracking, group ride messaging and incident detection - making riding in more remote locations feel safer, especially if riding solo.

Multi-GNSS should also ensure constant satellite coverage - as well as providing sub-one meter location pins - meaning that getting lost, even for the most directionally challenged rider, is now a lot harder. But if you do find yourself off course, the Edge Explore should get you back home with bike-specific navigation.

It really does feel like Garmin has created more freedom for cyclists who just wanna ride their (e-)bike.

The Garmin Edge Explore 2 Power Mount with cable

The Power Mount can be sold separately or as part of a Garmin Edge Explore 2 bundle. 

(Image credit: Garmin )

A computer that can, potentially, reduce the stress of guessing battery life, getting lost, or ending up on a busy intersection, as well as doing away with making you feel like you have to constantly track ride performance feels like a welcome addition to the market.

Sadly, the best things in life aren't free, and the Edge Explore 2 has a suggested retail price of $299.99/ £249.99. The Edge Explore 2 Power Mount Bundle, with included Edge Power Mount, comes in at $339.99/ £339.99. The Edge Power Mount can also be purchased separately for $129.99/£109.99

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