Garmin's latest free update is a big win for e-bike users

Garmin Edge 1040 Solar
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin is finally embracing e-bikes, as an update to its Garmin Edge 1040 cycling computer series offers “full e-bike support” – including brand new metrics. 

If you own a bike capable of connecting to the Edge 1040 with ANT or ANT+ wireless connectivity, as many of the best electric bikes are able to do, you’ll be able to view custom data exclusive to e-bikes. For example, when you upload a course into Garmin Connect to view on the Edge, the cycling computer will not only show you your planned route of travel – as it would on a conventional bicycle, if you’re using a connected e-bike – but the Edge will also tell you if your bike’s got enough battery to see you through the duration of the course. 

Being able to view your bike’s remaining battery life means you can plan to get to a charging port in advance, whether that means shortening the course before you set out, or turning around and heading for home halfway through an over-ambitious weekend ride. It’s a really useful tool, marking an excellent start for Garmin’s e-bike integration. 

You’ll also be able to adjust assistance levels using the Edge 1040 computer, rather than manually on your bike. 

Other features of the update not specific to e-bikes include music controls (finally!) on the Edge 1040 series, a visible Intensity Minutes metric, and an updated Training Status, which will import your heart rate variability status and recent exercise history from your best Garmin watch and show your training status on the Edge. 

The update is completely free for existing Edge 1040 users, and you can download it by enabling automatic updates from your device or by using Garmin Express, just like the recent watch update.

Analysis: A sign of things to come

It’s no secret that we at TechRadar love our e-bikes. A blend of economic, healthy hobby, and powerful electric vehicle transportation, electric bikes allow you to go further for longer, with less effort.

Much of Garmin’s fitness technology has been in the form of triathlon-adjacent endurance exercises like running and cycling, but people tend to forget that Garmin GPS also lives in cars and other powered vehicles. E-bike support, a perfect marriage of Garmin’s fitness and transportation areas of expertise, feels long overdue, and we can’t help wondering what’s next. 

Earlier in the year, we wrote briefly about the Edge 1040 Solar, at the time saying the computer wasn't worth shelling out for when the Edge 1030 was so similar from a specs perspective. But, if you’re an e-bike user, this is a great chance to improve your electric bike experience and be an early adopter of some new Garmin tech. Even though the Edge 1040 is an expensive unit, we would wholeheartedly recommend e-bike fans at least looking into its new capabilities. 

Based on the way Garmin likes to operate, other e-bike features may not be far behind for Garmin’s flagship cycling computer.   

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.