Jul 06, 2020

The new Garmin Edge 130 Plus

What's changed on the Garmin Edge 130 Plus from the old Edge 130

As we pointed out in our recent article on the new Garmin Edge 1030 Plus, larger-screened bike computers are useful for getting the information you need from short glances. But what about the other end of the spectrum — mini bike computers? They're great for:

  • Cyclists who want to add the least amount of weight to their bike
  • Fitting into tight spaces such as between aero bars
  • People who want to spend the least amount of money while still getting a capable unit

With the recent announcement of the Garmin 130 Plus, the available options in this category just got more attractive. We often compare what new devices look like side-by-side with the models they're replacing, to clearly understand what's changed. But in this case it's an act of futility, as the exterior of the older Edge 130 model is identical:

A comparison image of the original Garmin Edge 130 and the Edge 130 Plus

QUICK NOTE: You can use SportTracks to analyze your V02 Max

There may be no new visual changes to get excited about, but the internals are a bit different. An accelerometer is now built into the new Edge 130 Plus (the old model didn't have one). This gives it the ability to offer Garmin's crash detection, which alerts emergency contacts if an incident is detected (providing that your phone is nearby and powered on).

The new sensor also lets the 130 Plus offer mountain biking dynamics, which are metrics for Grit, Flow, and Jumps. Grit rates the difficulty of a ride, and climbing increases it. Flow is based on forward momentum. If you brake less often when going downhill, your Flow score will be higher. After landing a jump, the Edge 130 Plus shows your Hang Time, Distance, and Speed.

Multi-step workout support

Another major upgrade is that the new Edge 130 Plus now supports structured workouts. You can easily create your own multi-step workouts in SportTracks (for example: warmup for 10 minutes, then do a 5-minute interval at a targeted power range, then recover for 2 minutes, etc.). As soon as your custom workouts are saved in your SportTracks calendar, they are automatically sent to your Garmin devices so you can ride them.

Garmin's ClimbPro: See the work ahead

Also new to the Edge 130 Plus is Garmin's ClimbPro feature. This is a screen that shows how much climbing remains on the course you've selected to ride. The steepness of the grades are shaded differently on the 130 Plus monochrome display. It's useful for understanding how much more work remains on a ride. In a way it's like a real-time, in-ride version of the Automatic Hill Detection feature in SportTracks.

Bike trainer support

Another way the Edge 130 Plus is different from the old model is that it will soon be able to control an indoor cycling trainer and smart bikes, thanks to the ANT+ and FE-C protocols it supports. As of this writing this feature isn't live yet, but it will be coming soon in a firmware update.

The new 130 Plus also has some things in common with the top-of-the-line Garmin Edge 1030 Plus. These include the greatly improved set-up experience. If you're moving to the 130 Plus from a different Garmin bike computer, it will automatically transfer the connection of up to 20 training sensors (like power meters, speed sensors, etc.), to save you the hassle of having to pair them. If you had any customized data screens, they will be automatically transferred to the 130 Plus as well.

The Edge 130 Plus is also compatible with Garmin's popular Varia radar systems, which alert you to vehicles approaching from the rear. If you use one of these systems, like the RTL515, you can analyze Vehicle Count, Vehicle Distance, and Vehicle Speed metrics in SportTracks and see how the traffic influenced your fitness data like heart rate, power, and speed.

Final thoughts...

What's happened here is that Garmin added a new hardware sensor and software capabilities to their entry-level bike computer without raising the price. If you need head unit with mapping, navigation, and advanced metrics like nPower, then this isn't the device for you. But if you want an ultra-compact and lightweight bike computer that takes advantage of Garmin's rich ecosystem, the Edge 130 Plus is an appealing new option.