I bought the Garmin Edge Explore in 2020, despite the many shortcomings, this device is the best usable navigation system for cyclists.
Garmin has always had trouble designing logical user interfaces. The Garmin Edge Explore, which was introduced July 2018, is optimized for training, not for navigation. The navigation is overshadowed by the many training facilities, which makes using navigation very cumbersome. I have therefore figured out which settings are necessary to be able to use the navigation better.
I have also listed some shortcomings in the hope that Garmin can fix them.

Advantages of the Garmin Edge Explore

  • Excellent visibility in sunlight due to the transflective screen
  • The 3 "screen is small but it is good enough for navigation
  • A bicycle navigation map of Europe is pre-installed

Garmin Edge 1030

  • This device is the more expensive version (€470) but it is no better when you use just navigation.
  • The 3,5” display is a little larger but 3” is large enough.
  • Only buy this device if you need the extra training features.
  • For a good comparison with the Garmin Edge Explore see here.


There are 2 apps that can be downloaded for the Garmin

  • Garmin Express
    Only to update software
  • Garmin Connect
    To download routes to the garmin.

Pairing with smartphone

Viewing and editing routes can be done on the Garmin device itself but this is not handy because of the small 3” screen. It can be done better on your smartphone, which is much more convenient.

The best settings for using just navigation

In order to navigate most conveniently without being bothered by unnecessary functions, I made the following settings.
Enter the settings menu with: Main menu > bottom left icon.

Remove GroupTrack List

Ride settings > Data screens>
Select GroupTrack List > Remove this

Set Screen 1

Ride settings > Data screens > Screen 1 > Layout and Data Fields only 3 fields >

  • Elapsed Time
  • Speed
  • Distance

Set map screen on top

Ride settings > Data screens > Click on the icon at the bottom right  > select “Map” and drag up with up / down.

Turn off alerts

Ride settings > Alerts > disable all lines

Battery Save Mode

Battery Save Mode > disable this

Garmin Edge Explore tips


Setting the backlight is cumbersome:

  • Swipe down
  • Swap right to light settings widget
  • Select the light level
  • Exit widget with icon in the bottom center

Therefore, to avoid this, set the backlight to 100% and the Lighting timeout to 30 sec:

  • Bottom left icon>
  • System> Display> Lighting timeout = 30 seconds

After that, you just need to tap the screen to turn on backlight.

Improving the use of the lock screen

If you want to temporarily store the Garmin in your pocket during navigation, you have to lock the touchscreen. Otherwise, all kinds of nasty functions can be performed on your device. Switching the Garmin off temporarily is not a good method because it takes a long time to switch on, the satellites have to be searched again, etc. However, the lock screen operation is inconvenient. But there is something to do about that. If you switch on the timer during navigation, with the button at the bottom right, you can then easily switch the lock screen on and off with one press of the power button. This should be improved, it should always work this way, not just with the timer on.

Desired improvements for the Garmin Edge Explore

If you compare the Garmin with, for example, a car navigation from TomTom, then you see clearly the weakness of the Garmin. I have collected a number of points for improvement, I hope Garmin wants to carry this out.

Possibility to reverse the route

It is still impossible to navigate a route in reverse direction. 

Touchscreen problems

Often the touchscreen only responds after 2x touching.

Changing map orientation with the Garmin

It is important to be able to quickly switch between 3D mode and north-up mode. Now it takes at least 14 clicks:

  • Click on the map
  • Home
  • More…
  • Ride settings
  • Map
  • Orientation
  • Select the map mode
  • Back
  • Back
  • Back
  • Press X
  • Ride
  • Swap left
  • Swap left

Now we are back to the map. 
Why is this so awfully clumsy? It would be nice if changing the map orientation could be done with a single keystroke.

Turning power off is refused

Switching off the Garmin with the power button is often refused, then we receive the following error message:
“Activity in progress. Stop the timer before putting the device to sleep or powering off.”
The device must always be able to be switched off without first going through all kinds of menus.

Return to homescreen

Sometimes you can quickly go the homescreen with tip on the screen and then click on the Home icon. But often it is more work. It would be nice if you can always go back to the home screen with one click.

Wrong map view when searching on the map

If the map is set to 3D mode for navigation, then, when searching for a course, the map is also shown in 3D, but this has to be north-up.

Lockscreen working clumsy

See the lock screen tips above.

To many beeps

There are too many beeps during navigation. It is unclear how to reduce these.

Settings at an illogical location

The settings for Turn Guidance and Off Course Warnings are at an illogical location:
Main menu > Courses > Saved Courses > bottom right icon.

A better location is the menu Ride Settings > Alerts.

Stopping the activity timer is cumbersome

For instance, when we are in the Ride window, it this takes 4 clicks:

  • X
  • Discard ride X
  • Discard ride without saving? V
  • Ride

This can be simplified with just 2 options:

  • Discard ride without saving?
  • Discard ride with saving?

Then we should automatically return to the last window.



Do you have any comments about the website or problems with shopping? Please let me know.