Garmin 500 Mount Fails

Piece of the Garmin 500 broken off in the mount

UPDATE: Garmin contacted me today and wants to see the unit and mount. I'm happy to see them react proactively to the issue, and hope this is an isolated problem with an explanation. More information as and when I get it.

A few weeks back I wrote that the Garmin 500 had a new twist and lock mount, perhaps as a reaction to the problems that some users experienced with the slide-and-latch mechanics of its predecessors. Out riding yesterday, my Garmin 500 broke free from the mount and skittered behind me as I crossed a six lane road. I stopped quickly, laid the bike down and ran back to retrieve the unit (advantage mtb shoes) before cross traffic ran it over. Expecting it had just released, I was dismayed to find that pieces of the unit itself had cracked off in the mount (see photo showing one of the pieces). Examining the 500 closely revealed the plastic molded pins on the back of the Garmin unit itself had broken away. Nothing struck the Garmin during the ride, and the road I was riding on was perfectly smooth. I'm baffled.

The pins molded into the back of the Garmin 500 have broken away

I suppose I'll have to send the unit back to Garmin, which I'll do this week. This is the first time Garmin hardware has failed me, ironically with the new mounting mechanism. Perhaps the old one, wasn't so bad after all.

31 Responses to Garmin 500 Mount Fails

  1. BR says:

    Chuck it. You couldn’t pay me to use a bike computer. I ran them for years until a coach told me to rely exclusively on my senses whether I am training, out for a boondoggle, competing, eating my way through a century, whatever. If you (anyone, not just YOU :-)) we/us/them are riding at 18mph and it feels like we/us/them are doing 20mph do you really want to know that we/us/them are only doing 18 mph? If you are riding along at 18 mph does that prompt you to say “that’s enough” because 18 is a decent number based on the graphs from last week or do you ignore the computer and gear up to 20-21 mph? In my unsolicited low tech getting old and grumpy opinion computers on bikes lead to a fixation on measuring every pedal stroke and missing the opportunity to just enjoy the ride. Plus….we stare into computers all day long….ahahahah enough! Nav systems in cars…??? what we can’t get lost once in awhile? Can’t be 10 minutes late or 10 minutes early?

    I’d love to see a Paris Roubaix go down without computers on bikes, radios, power taps, dope, etc. All they REALLY need is podium chicks and cool jerseys!!!

    Rant over. What were we talking about?

    • vectorbug says:

      Its nice to know what a top speed of the day was (bragging rights), along with a close estimate of calories burned (so I can plan what to make for dinner), altitude change (bragging rights) and what time it is (am I running late to meet my mates/work/date, etc).

      I get lost plenty, with my computer =)

    • W.icked T.im F.an says:

      BR, I’m with ya babe. You mention cars…hell…we should still be on horses. No worries about paying for gas, polluting the environment…etc. With a horse, all ya need is a stable, oats and some hay. I love still living in the ’20′s and never wanna leave.

  2. BR says:

    I remembered what made me so anti technology – bear with me. Pinewood Derby yesterday with 35 K-3rd grade boys and their dad’s. Lot’s of prep, trash talking, some cars actually made with both dad & junior, some bought online for $100′s, etc. The track is assembled, cars are weighed, checked in, etc. Half way through the heats the software fails and they lose track of who won what til that point. So the kids last about…30 seconds….and head outside for some tag, red rover, fence climbing, while the dudes in charge try to figure out what to do with this over engineered fiasco. Suddenly a voice emerges from the group….”does anyone have pencil and paper?” :-)

    vectorbug – take this response as good humored fun :-)

    riders don’t need computers to determine who is riding above their game that day – we know.

    calories burned? come here so I can swat you on the back of the head! Here is my guide to caloric menu strategy. It was a good day if I am standing in the kitchen with rank helmet hair, bibs half off the butt, stinkin up the joint as I grab a 4th handful of the “hey ass those crackers and snacks are for the boys lunches and go take a shower!”

    altitude change? you went up and then you went down

    what time is it? it’s time to unplug :-)

    • I really only care about mileage now. Occasionally I look at my speed, like when we’re railing Highway 9 or that last stretch of 135 on the way back from Mt. Hamilton.

  3. willy in pacifica says:

    Hey BR,

    I do not have a computer on my two main bikes but I do use the fancy Garmin Etrex for the brevet bike in order to know when to turn. It is nice to not have computers cluttering up my bars. Leaves more room for my bell.

    M,

    I have one of the Garmin Forerunners sitting in my garage that I do use on occasion that straps onto the bars. And the girls get a kick out of using it on the triplet. The bar mount it came with was terrible. The unit would launch out of the mount going over insignificant bumps. On the second launch the display cracked. I sent it back to Garmin and they replace it as I think they knew the mount was trash. I now use some sort of rubber band gizmo that works perfectly and is simple.

    willy in pacifica

    • BR says:

      Willy you are excused. I would need a satellite, drone and a Sherpa if I rode PBP.

      M: – I need to take you on a loop that includes the downhill after Tunitas towards 92 and not down King’s as we usually go. Of course we will let Cox take the lead ;-) The only downside is the descent down 92 to Canada.

      • willy in pacifica says:

        Hey BR,

        Belive it or not I did not have a computer at PBP nor did I have a route sheet. They have arrows at all the turns and an “X” at the wrong turns. A route sheet would not have been any use as they were in French. All you need is a list of the towns you are heading thru.

        The ride along Skyline from the top of Tunitus toward 92 is one of my favorites. After the first couple of miles you have 5+ miles af slight downhill that is fantastic. Just never do it the other way as it seems like it takes forever. But I love the downhill on Hwy 92 down to Canada as it is fairly straight and fast so the cars will give you a break. A trick is to take the entire lane and when you take off at the top try to get just in front of a truck or RV as they will slow down the traffic and will not even consider trying to pass you. The only iff’y part is when it flatens out at the bottom and you still have half a mile. Now the cars get antsy here.

        willy

  4. Paul says:

    Funny, I noticed exactly the same problem on my month old Edge 500 yesterday. As in the photo above, it’s the tab on the left side of the unit. I suspect it’s pressure on the tab from pressing the Page button on the left hand side of the unit to change the display page during a ride, perhaps combined with cold temperatures making the plastic brittle. I’ve noticed this button requires a lot of pressure, and it’s not easy (especially in winter gloves) to press it without applying a twisting force of the unit against the mount.

    I spoke to a Garmin tech today who said it was a problem he had not seen and that they would probably fix it under warranty, but that still leaves me without a computer for a week or so.

    • Paul,

      Thanks for the additional report, my unit is about a month old, so perhaps there is a developing problem here. I agree the buttons are difficult to press, particularly with gloves on.

      ::M

      • Paul says:

        I sent it in to Garmin, they replaced it a week later. The replacement unit is a new in-the-box item with a new HR strap and cadence sensor!

        Thanks Garmin – we’ll see how long the mount lasts this time.

  5. nick holbrow says:

    I have to say that in the uk this device costs 225 250, which is a lot of money. I ride with both with and without a computer and to be honest i am only interested in how far and how fast down that hill. But i like many others will spend on decent kit and its a shame that its let down by a bit of plastic! Even if it gets fixed under warranty i would still have a bitter taste IT HAS TO BE JUST RIGHT, for me. My computer has held on even though i cart wheeled down the road so it can be done.
    n

  6. Erik says:

    Garmin seems to not have there shear numbers on these mounts in line. I have a Garmin 405 watch that broke at the band in the same way. Plastic failure.

    Support wise I filed a ticket and sent a email but they never responded. If you get a good support path let us know.

  7. kurt says:

    Wooho, I think you hit a chord with BR on this one. Two posts in one hour!

    I always liked the science of man and machine and live by the adage of “what can be measured can be improved”.

    It’s not the computer I can’t get enough of… it’s the numbers.

    Velo,
    You must be bummed. I could not stand watching my new equipment become Road Kill.

    • BR says:

      Hi Kurt…I usually hit the Monday routine pretty amp’d up plus the “inside voice” filter has been off for a few days.

      I ask Michael several data questions after we finish a ride. I have done a few long rides lately and I Google the routes right away to see what I did vs what it felt like. It’s a 2:1 ratio lately….”felt like 75 and was only 40!” Numbers? I feel much less effective on the bike these days. Probably a combination of age, rebuilding after surgery, etc. If I had some data to go through I could see what gives. I notice that I coast more between pedaling and I don’t recall doing that as much ever before. I’d be more depressed with a computer I am sure.

      • kurt says:

        Hey BR,
        To be clear, I love it when you come in hot and heavy.

        I am sure you are right about the surgey/ age combo-more surgey than age. Recovery just isn’t what it used to be. Be patient, you will be posting those Feel Good numbers when the weather turns warm. Train slow to go fast.

        I purchased the Cateye that had cadence when the option was 1st available back in the early 80′s. I tried training with a metrenome, but it didn’t translate well to the road. With the Cateye, I learned I was doing a 70-80 cadence by feel. It took consirable time to adjust to the 90 rpm level. Once I internalized the adjustment it opened up a world of learning opportunites, cadence on incline, smoother shift changes, etc. With time it turned into feel again but it was a more correct feeling.

        Flash forward 2010 – I am using a power meter and it is kinda cool. Now I have too many numbers, but I sure like staring at the pretty graphs.

        Ride on

  8. Kurt,

    It didn’t actually get run over. I got back in time to grab it before traffic came. For once I was happy for a long traffic light sequence.

    By the way, Juli surprised me with a smart Art of Shaving travel kit yesterday. Now I can shave in style even while I’m on the road.

    ::M

    • willy in pacifica says:

      By the way, Juli surprised me with a smart Art of Shaving travel kit yesterday. Now I can shave in style even while I’m on the road.

      Hey M, how fast can you shave?

    • kurt says:

      Velo,
      I was getting a rather comical visual going until I remembered that you are sporting the mtb shoes. It took all the fun away.

      It is good that Garmin has your issue on a fast track. I am interested to see if it is a design issue or a problem with the injection mold tooling. Given this issue with the Garmin, I will probably be purchasing the Cyclops Joule when it is available. too bad, I really like the big screen and numbers.

      Nice surprise from Juli indeed!

      Have you settled on the lemon scent?

      I just rode the first group ride of the season on Sunday. The 35 mile route has no hills but there is 5 heavy paced jumps. I was dropped from each one. This sport never gets easier.

      Almost considered hopping up to Richmond, VA to ride with the Rapha boys on Sunday. I just didn’t learn about it soon enough.

  9. velomonkey says:

    I will say this, I just did a ride in a location I had no idea of, downloaded a route to my Garmin off mapmyride, I have done that before, but also downloaded the vcm file or whatever it is – gave me turn by turn directions, not just a blue line over the course. It was awesome.

    I agree, too much reliance on numbers is a bad thing. As for the pine wood derby, it had the 100% opposite effect on me as my dad had just died and had to build my car with god father. I lost. Bad. Took decades of therapy ; )

  10. Mark says:

    I know your on the road for a shoot, but I have been meaning to ask how you like the Competitive Cyclist 32 spoke “old school” wheels? I have a steel Pegoretti and am looking at these. Thanks and safe travels.

    • Hi Mark,
      Those wheels have worked out well for me. I’ve probably put 7,000 miles on them and they remain true, the hubs spin freely without any play. I think I’ve said they are bulletproof on a couple of occasions. The tied and soldered feature probably doesn’t make any difference to wheel stiffness, but it looks good and probably would go nicely with your Pegoretti.

      I don’t think you can go wrong there.

      ::M

  11. Tim Cox says:

    Having switched from Polar CS400 to the Garmin Edge 500, I am generally loving the unit. Especially the virtual training partner (you race against yourself—your last best time—on a defined route). But I do think the mount mechanism (flimsy plastic bands) is really mickey mouse. Why not use zip ties like Polar? I will now be watching the plastic lugs on the back of the unit very carefully – thanks for the heads-up. /tim

  12. Thought that you may like to know: Garmin have released a firmware update for the 500 (obviously, this update doesn’t change the mount issues – pity about that!).

    I stupidly installed the update without first noting my ‘pages’ layout – speed, temp, cadence, time etc. When you perform the update IT WIPES ALL USER SETTINGS – INCLUDING BIKE SETUP, ODOMETER, PAGE LAYOUTS AND USER DETAILS LIKE GENDER, WEIGHT, HEIGHT ETC.

    To me this is pathetic – I’m not sure there’s a way to back-up this data prior to updating (the update does warn you that it will reset the unit, but I wasn’t expecting this large a reset!).

    I’ve been very, very happy with the unit thus far – great data and it seems very reliable. But I’m less than happy with the issues you’ve had re: mount and the software update process.

    Thought that you and other readers with the 500 may like a heads-up prior to updating.

    Love the wind-tunnel stuff, great work!

    • Kim,

      Sorry you got bitten by that firmware update behavior too. I don’t know why Garmin Connect doesn’t store all that information to avoid this kind of user experience annoyance.

      Hopefully others will read this and avoid the problem.

      ::M

  13. Even if they simply told you that you should back-up your pages layout – that’d help!

    Still, you live and learn I guess :>

    When I think about it, there’s a lot of people who would love to be in the position to have that as a problem!

    Cheers.

    Kim.

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  15. Charlie Pulfer says:

    Michael,

    I had a very similar problem to yours today. I also had a Edge 500. I was riding home from work. At one point during the ride, I have to get off the bike go up some steps and over a bridge. When I was going up the stairs I think my front wheel must have touched a step. I then say the Edge 500 fly up off the bike, hit the concrete and then drop into the canal which is under the bridge. Goodby to the Edge 500. I’m sure the unit was well seated in the mount and I have no idea how it could fly out like that.

    Do you think there is someone at Garmin I could speak to about this?