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  1. #1
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    Joule 2.0 versus Garmin 500?

    I'm on the brink of buying a powertap setup for my road bike. This will be used both on a stationary trainer (Cyclops fluid 2), as well as on the road. I'm looking for feedback on the pro's and con's of the Joule 2.0 head unit as compared to a Garmin 500 head unit.

    I'm currently using a Garmin Edge 305, which has served me well, but doesn't work with a power meter. I find the Garmin training center software pretty easy to use, but have never messed with the Joule software.

    Any information and first-hand experience with one system or the other would be appreciated.

    Steve M.

  2. #2
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    The Garmin 500 is almost ubiquitous on bikes in the Bay Area. I've never seen a Joule in real life. The killer feature for the Garmin is the GPS capability which allows you to track your rides in Strava, SportsTracks or other similar software. The biggest features of Joule is looking at your ride data and power stats on the device, either while riding or post-ride. If you exclusively look at your power data and detailed ride stats on your home computer, I don't see the point of the Joule. I understand that there's a GPS Joule coming out, but they will have a lot of catching up to do to match the Garmin feature set. The other big factor is price ...
    Old La Honda in less than 20 minutes! Or you can watch race video from the low-key hill climb on Welch Creek. More at www.biketelemetry.com.

    "I think," said Christopher Robin, "that we ought to eat all our Provisions now, so that we shan't have so much to carry.", Winnie-the-Pooh, A. A. Milne.

  3. #3
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    LOVE my 705. All I had to do to pair with my PT was tell it I had one. The 705 has done exceptionally well in foul weather and the data seems accurate and, more importantly, consistent. The only hiccup is that it randomly turns off sometimes when doing a course (once every 3 hours or so)...

    I realize it isn't the same as a 500, but the data experience should be similar (the 705 doesn't have temperature).

  4. #4
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    Well, I scored a good deal on a lightly used Powertap SL+ wheel and Joule 2.0 setup as a combination, so I'll be using the Joule, at least for now. I already have a Garmin 305, but alas, it is not powertap compatible. The GPS function of the Garmin units is definitely a nice feature, but a Garmin 500 will have to wait a while, now.

    Steve.

  5. #5
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    And on the group ride today, lo and behold there was also someone with a Joule 2.0.

    Good for you on getting a good deal ... enjoy training with power, and let us know how the Joule works out!
    Old La Honda in less than 20 minutes! Or you can watch race video from the low-key hill climb on Welch Creek. More at www.biketelemetry.com.

    "I think," said Christopher Robin, "that we ought to eat all our Provisions now, so that we shan't have so much to carry.", Winnie-the-Pooh, A. A. Milne.

  6. #6
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    Keep the joule, it is by far a better head unit if you want real data that can be used to improve your performance. If you're a gadget guy the GPS is good but it does nothing to make you faster nor does it show you where you are and where you need to go. AKA gadget. I found the joule is easier to use and the software is more reliable.

  7. #7
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    The GPS data is not completely frivolous - it can be very motivating for training and performance improvement when combined with segment tracking and KOMs in Strava. You can get navigation too, on the Edge 705 or 800, if you need it. It can be invaluable on long rides in unfamiliar territory. The "real data" is equivalent between the Joule and the Garmins. The real value comes from the analysis software that you use - WKO+, TrainingPeaks and GoldenCheetah for example - and these work equally well for Joule and Garmin.

    Finally, there have been significant firmware issues on all the Garmin cycling products and they do firmware updates to fix them. Based on their past performance, it generally takes them about 6 months to a year after first product availability to get the firmware into a reasonable state. It takes longer on the products with more complex feature sets, like the 705 and 800.
    Old La Honda in less than 20 minutes! Or you can watch race video from the low-key hill climb on Welch Creek. More at www.biketelemetry.com.

    "I think," said Christopher Robin, "that we ought to eat all our Provisions now, so that we shan't have so much to carry.", Winnie-the-Pooh, A. A. Milne.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukbloke View Post
    The "real data" is equivalent between the Joule and the Garmins.
    Here is where I see the real difference. The joule gives you many of the meterics that you get when you download but the are live on the joule. That is the real difference between the Joule and the Garman. Here are a few that I use and are important to me during the ride. Joule has real-time TSS, Surges screen, Internals list screen. If you are training with power these are your meat and potato's. I own them both and use the Joule full time, the Garmin is a backup.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockdude View Post
    Here is where I see the real difference. The joule gives you many of the meterics that you get when you download but the are live on the joule. That is the real difference between the Joule and the Garman. Here are a few that I use and are important to me during the ride. Joule has real-time TSS, Surges screen, Internals list screen. If you are training with power these are your meat and potato's.
    Agreed, if looking at this data on the bike is important to you - get the Joule.

    Many have been lobbying for quite some time for Garmin to add similar summary data fields to their devices. I think they will do much more in this department when they finally release their Vector pedal-based power-meter. It has been a long wait (almost 2 years since MetriGear announced it?). At least I had the foresight to get a cheap PowerTap wheel so I haven't been missing out on power for all that time ...
    Old La Honda in less than 20 minutes! Or you can watch race video from the low-key hill climb on Welch Creek. More at www.biketelemetry.com.

    "I think," said Christopher Robin, "that we ought to eat all our Provisions now, so that we shan't have so much to carry.", Winnie-the-Pooh, A. A. Milne.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockdude View Post
    Keep the joule, it is by far a better head unit if you want real data that can be used to improve your performance. If you're a gadget guy the GPS is good but it does nothing to make you faster nor does it show you where you are and where you need to go. AKA gadget. I found the joule is easier to use and the software is more reliable.
    I don't see the better onboard data display options of the Joule as more than a way to satisfy curiosity. What I need to know for purposes of performing my intended intervals and overall workout is available to see on either the Joule or the 500, and the analysis of those workouts, individually or in a series or compared to or alongside other workouts, happens on WKO+.

  11. #11
    but thinking about it
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukbloke View Post
    Agreed, if looking at this data on the bike is important to you - get the Joule.
    Tough to argue against that, but (and having trained with power for four years, including a couple of years with a well-regarded coach), I don't see why I'd need to see those metrics during a ride if I was following a training plan. If I was "freestyling" my training and wanted to see what I'd done so far on a ride through a power-oriented lens, I guess they'd be useful (but that seems to be a poor way of training with power, IMO). In a theoretical sense, I can see that data might help a truly data-driven racer to make some decisions. That's not me.

    I'm not that into mapping out the routes I ride, but there have been many times, when traveling to an unfamiliar area, that I've used Garmin Connect to find a route that fit my plans, and loaded that on to the 500. Beats just wandering around.

  12. #12
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    I got the Joule 2.0 setup and configured for my Powertap, HR monitor, cadence, and speed sensors last night. I only had time to get a quick ride on the trainer to check it out. Very cool to be able to look at actual power output!!!

    I have been using a Garmin 305 throughout the local Time Trial season, and analyzing the data using the Garmin Training Center software. I have found the GPS function to be useful when analyzing the results. If I see a dip in cadence or speed in the time graph, I can click on the route map to determine where on the route the change ocurred. Maybe it's at the location of a stout left hand turn, at the base of a hill, or maybe I know it's on a section of the course that is typically in a headwind. For those kind of reasons, GPS would be nice.

    I'm not enough of a techno-nerd to have my Garmin and my Joule both mounted on the handlebars, with the iPhone in my jersey pocket.

    That being said, the Joule unit certainly has plenty of data storage and analysis capability. Now I need to learn how to take advantage of this new tool.

  13. #13
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    I guess the OP already got a Joule. I just wanted to add that you can use the Joule with the powerbeam pro and cycleops indoor bikes to control resistance. I don't think you can use the garmin at all with the indoor bikes since they aren't ant+.

    I have a 705 and a Joule. I like the 705 better, but I do a lot of just riding around so I like the GPS feature. If I only had one bike and didn't care about GPS I'd probably get a wired SRM b/c of price. Elevation is kinda screwy on my joule too, but it might just be mine.

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    Are you saying the Garmin will not show power in real time????

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    Quote Originally Posted by hxman View Post
    Are you saying the Garmin will not show power in real time????
    Not a 305. Doesn't work with powermeters. You need a 705, 500, 310xt, 800. Maybe a few others work as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwgranda View Post
    I guess the OP already got a Joule. I just wanted to add that you can use the Joule with the powerbeam pro and cycleops indoor bikes to control resistance. I don't think you can use the garmin at all with the indoor bikes since they aren't ant+.

    I have a 705 and a Joule. I like the 705 better, but I do a lot of just riding around so I like the GPS feature. If I only had one bike and didn't care about GPS I'd probably get a wired SRM b/c of price. Elevation is kinda screwy on my joule too, but it might just be mine.

    Elevation is a little screwy on mine, too. I did a well-known ride today, that has about 4800' of climbing "on paper". My Joule showed 5900'.

    I haven't figured out a good way to do pre-programmed workouts using the Joule on my Cycleops fluid 2 trainer. The "workouts" function won't display the goal power ranges for each section of the workout.

    Steve.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetmugg View Post
    Elevation is a little screwy on mine, too. I did a well-known ride today, that has about 4800' of climbing "on paper". My Joule showed 5900'.

    I haven't figured out a good way to do pre-programmed workouts using the Joule on my Cycleops fluid 2 trainer. The "workouts" function won't display the goal power ranges for each section of the workout.

    Steve.

    I think you need a powerbeam pro ($$$) for the preprogrammed workouts.

  18. #18
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    Even my old Garmin 305 would let me do pre-programmed workouts and provide a "cue sheet" on the screen, letting me know what my target HR, or cadence, or speed was for each step of the workout. I'm disappointed that the Joule can't do that. I was expecting that the Joule would allow me to program workout "steps" - (i.e. 5 minutes at 225-240 watts, 3 minutes rest, then 3 minutes at 250 watts, etc), and then help me remember the steps and let me know if I was under or over the goal.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetmugg View Post
    Even my old Garmin 305 would let me do pre-programmed workouts and provide a "cue sheet" on the screen, letting me know what my target HR, or cadence, or speed was for each step of the workout. I'm disappointed that the Joule can't do that. I was expecting that the Joule would allow me to program workout "steps" - (i.e. 5 minutes at 225-240 watts, 3 minutes rest, then 3 minutes at 250 watts, etc), and then help me remember the steps and let me know if I was under or over the goal.
    How many different steps do you have? Maybe use invervals mode? It won't show you your current target, but if you've memorized the steps you can keep track of which one you should be on and what comes next.

  20. #20
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    With specific warm-up targets, intervals, and rest sessions, there can be quite a few steps, especially if they are over/under intervals or peak/fade. (18-20 steps would not be excessive) I've been using the interval mode on the Joule, with a written "cheat sheet" to keep me on track. After some all-out intervals, it's easy for my brain to be not quite as sharp as normal. The "workout" feature on the Garmin unit just made it so easy to keep track of the steps. I don't see why the Joule shouldn't be capable of the same type of functionality. It can measure time, it knows the HR, knows the power output, knows the cadence, etc. Maybe it's a Power Agent software issue, but the Garmin definitely wins, hands-down in the ability to customize and store workouts.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetmugg View Post
    With specific warm-up targets, intervals, and rest sessions, there can be quite a few steps, especially if they are over/under intervals or peak/fade. (18-20 steps would not be excessive) I've been using the interval mode on the Joule, with a written "cheat sheet" to keep me on track. After some all-out intervals, it's easy for my brain to be not quite as sharp as normal. The "workout" feature on the Garmin unit just made it so easy to keep track of the steps. I don't see why the Joule shouldn't be capable of the same type of functionality. It can measure time, it knows the HR, knows the power output, knows the cadence, etc. Maybe it's a Power Agent software issue, but the Garmin definitely wins, hands-down in the ability to customize and store workouts.

    Do you watch videos on the trainer? Maybe you can put an overlay on your video for what watt target you want. The joule actually is pretty good for the stored workouts in the way your describing. You just don't have the right trainer. Get a powerbeam pro and you REALLY won't have to think about the watt targets since it will adjust the resistance to make sure you're at the target or in a certain range.

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