New from Garmin in 2013 comes the Edge 510 cycling computer, a wonderful upgrade over the Edge 500.

Some of the new, cool features are the touch screen and Bluetooth connectivity. The touch screen allows you to scroll through multiple screens with nothing more than a finger swipe. Bluetooth not only allows you easier uploading to Garmin Connect (a powerful resource from Garmin to analyze each activity in great detail), it also allows for live tracking through your smart phone.

After each ride you have the option to save or discard the activity. Once it’s saved, your data automatically uploads to a Garmin Connect application on your smart phone. From there you can post it to social media, text someone your ride info or just cruise through your week’s training while relaxing at home. Live tracking is a great feature not only for coaches to see your real time training data but also for your significant other to monitor your whereabouts. You can invite one or more folks to watch your progress through live tracking via e-mail. You can also receive live weather updates when your smart phone is connected. Wind speed and direction, upcoming showers and temperature are all on your Edge 510 screen without having to stop.

One of my personal favorite features of the 510 is the customizable screen display. You can choose just a couple of key data fields to be displayed with large digits or you can get up to 10 data numbers on the screen all at once. These data fields include current, average and maximum speed, heart rate, heading, cadence, calories burned, elevation (in case you weren’t sure what that number is here in SWFL), ascent, grade, power (if you’ve got an ANT + power measuring device), temperature, and battery life.

Rick Featherstone, a local fan of the 510 also likes the custom screen displays. I like being able to set “different activity profiles such as ‘Race’ or ‘Train’  so I can see specific data fields depending on what kind of ride I’m doing,” says Featherstone. For example, ” you can have one [display] specifically set up for mountain biking to [show] elevation and grade or whatever you please.”

Another cool thing is if you need the bigger numbers for easier reading but you want more data than the two fields provided to get those large digits, you can set up an auto scroll. You can choose all the data you want to be displayed, choose a slow, medium or fast scrolling feature and the Edge 510 will cycle through these screens automatically. There is no need to reach down and try to swipe the screen while in the middle of your interval puke fest.

So who needs the 510? With the customizable display and out-front style mounting, the Edge 510 is for anyone. Sure it’s feature loaded and you might not use every aspect it has to offer, but being able to choose what you want to see in addition to letting folks know you’re safe via Live Track are a couple of priceless features.

At not much more of a cost over the 500, the 510 is a great value especially if you’ve already got ANT+ data sensors from your old unit. Those heart rate and speed/cadence sensors are compatible with the new 510, saving you over $70 since you won’t need to go with the bundled 510 (one of a few 510 options). Packages range from $329.99 for just the Edge 510 head to $399.99 for the bundled package that includes a premium heart rate strap and a speed/cadence sensor.