Smart watch+apps or proper cycle computer?
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  1. #1
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    Smart watch+apps or proper cycle computer?

    Just wondering what others use to get some data to look at.

    I still have a really ancient CatEye (1982), but treated myself to a Garmin Vivoactive HR watch (yes, I'm "frugal") strictly on the basis that it was the lowest priced model that could cope with XC skiing.
    Got Garmin cadence sensors for both the road bike and the MTB.

    Presently fiddling with the apps/data field software i.e. Bike Tracker and Cycling DF7-1.
    Cheers

    HJ
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    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  2. #2
    What the what???
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    I used to be a CatEye fan, but now I just carry my phone using a QuadLock and I use Cyclemeter to track mileage, speed, etc. I never got on the Strava bandwagon.
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  3. #3
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    I don't use anything anymore but put it this way when I did: I used to wear a watch out of habit on some rides and had a cycling computer with time. It was alot easier and convenient to look at the computer for the time. So in comparing both side by side so to speak I would definitely say something that mounts on you stem is much better than on your wrist.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhB_HJ View Post
    Just wondering what others use to get some data to look at.

    I still have a really ancient CatEye (1982), but treated myself to a Garmin Vivoactive HR watch (yes, I'm "frugal") strictly on the basis that it was the lowest priced model that could cope with XC skiing.
    Got Garmin cadence sensors for both the road bike and the MTB.

    Presently fiddling with the apps/data field software i.e. Bike Tracker and Cycling DF7-1.
    Everyone has different wants/needs. I bought a Garmin Edge a few years ago (I currently use an 820) I probably could not go back to a basic computer. I like all the data and the ability to do navigation. Yes, it not really necessary, but its addictive. I recently added a Garmin Varia radar that integrates very well with the 820

  5. #5
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    One is a diary and one is a training partner. Neither is better or worse. It just depends on your goals.
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  6. #6
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    I have the edge 810, and a Garmin Fenix 5s Sapphire. The 810 I have had for a long time. I got the Fenix last year (I had 500 to spend before I lost it, company gives me 500 a year for sport and fitness to cover up to 50% of sporting/fitness related things, so to maximize its use, I picked up the Fenix with my Amex points and some cash, about $120 out of pocket).

    I hate the chest straps, so I like that the watch can broadcast HR. I picked it up over the other watches for a few reasons, in addition to cycling, I also have kayaks and paddle boards, which it supports.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBL450 View Post
    One is a diary and one is a training partner. Neither is better or worse. It just depends on your goals.
    Good distinction!! My Garmin watch is the former, enough data to keep track.
    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  8. #8
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    Your watch will do everything a cycling computer would do (sans power tracking with your model), and it sounds like you already have it set up to detect your cadence sensor. Garmin Connect and/or Strava provide good interfaces to view your history, track fitness level (if you believe their metrics).

    Folks will tell you if you get very serious about tracking fitness for cycling that a power meter is great. However, that is a substantial investment, and the Vivoactive HR does not pair with them so then you would be looking at a different watch or computer.

    In your case, if you are using the watch as your HR monitor, it's got to stay on your wrist. It is nice to have a cycling computer centrally on your bike (on or in front of your stem/handlebar).

    Personally, I like redundancy and have the gear anyway, so I record each of my rides on both my Fenix 5X watch and my Edge 520 Plus computer. Then I typically delete one of them. Depending on what data I want to look at, I view either with Garmin Connect or Strava.

    Garmin Connect gives me info on overall fitness such as estimated VO2 Max, FTP, Lactate Threshold, overall training load... and there are trend line graphs to look at. Also better (and needed) for drilling down into some specific data that Strava doesn't show you, such as L/R power balance (my legs aren't the same size so it's something interesting to me).

    With all the saved GPS data, Strava is great for tracking performance over the same routes or segments and to see how you stack up against other riders (be it friends, totally random people, or even pros). Garmin has segments as well but I don't think they are as popular as Strava's. Strava also estimates your power (overall I think quite well as long as you properly input your weight and bike weight, etc) if you don't have a power meter. Although Garmin and Strava both have it, Strava is where I look at my power curve history. Some Strava features related to fitness tracking are paid features, some are not.

  9. #9
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    < Although Garmin and Strava both have it, Strava is where I look at my power curve history. Some Strava features related to fitness tracking are paid features, some are not.>

    Thanks, good points.

    My power capacity progress/improvement will be determined after the first two weeks of XC skiing come mid November.
    The hills will tell the story.

    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  10. #10
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    good cycling computer may be more reliable

    I have used the garmin edge 500 and once that died (battery just didn't last as long as it used to and data corruption was becoming more often) I just rode without a computer until I bought a smart watch. The smart watch worked ok for rides for a little while, like a few months (unlike years for the Garmin edge 500) then, gps started failing on the watch, not capturing data during the rides. Such as, I go for about 15 mile ride 5 miles of my 15 mile ride are just not there.

    Could be a problem with my watch (tic watch pro), but for now, its working just fine as a watch. Using a wahoo element cycling computer. Its been way more reliable and easy to use than my watch and garmin edge 500.
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  11. #11
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    The Edge 500 was released in 2009 and the ELEMNT was released in 2016, so one would hope it to be a better product. In its heyday the 500 was pretty popular and they're still sought after on eBay for those who are actually used to the interface (Garmin's flows on devices can be clunky IMO for both old and new devices). I just sold my 500 for like 80 bucks.

    Personally I loved the Edge 520, currently on a 520 Plus which is essentially the same model with better navigation. I'd be curious to see if the 530 is that much of an improvement but don't have a real need to switch as the battery in the 520 Plus is doing great.

    I love my Fenix 5X watch. It's now a few years and a couple generations old but works great and Garmin has continued to update it. The Fenix 6 looks enticing despite the high price tag, but the current watch is still in such great shape so no upgrades any time soon.

  12. #12
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    i've had a garmin 935 for 3years...when i got back into cycling a few months ago, i used the 935 and it worked fine. had the speed, distance, hr, etc. even worked with the garmin varia radar twilight.

    but it's screen is small, can't really handle maps/navigation, and the usual garmin delay in syncing to strava or my phone.

    so i got a wahoo elemnt bolt since many of my riding buddies have wahoos. and now i know why. it just works. super easy to set up, great visibility outdoors, out front mount puts it right in line of sight, easy to use large buttons, as much or little data displayed with easy increasing of data or font size, depending on what you want. super easy to add sensors (hr monitor, power meter pedals, varia, shimano di2, etc) as well as showing their battery levels. awesome implementation of the varia radar including color changes to led and decently loud beeps. super long battery life (12-15hrs). and it syncs immediately to strava as soon as i pull up the house and hit end ride. if you're going to ride regularly, it's worth the investment
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  13. #13
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    I have the Garmin Forerunner 945 because I run ultras and wanted a watch that tracked my runs for up to 36 hours. I used that for a while on my bike this spring, but I went back to my old Edge 500. I hated having just the watch under long sleeves on cold rides. That died, so I bought an Edge 530. I liked that, but the maps look so small even with cheaters now that I'm over 50 so I ordered an Edge 1030 to compare, and I settled on that. I still use an older Garmin chest strap because it still works, eventually I'll buy a new one when I have to.

    If you have to you could use a smart phone mount for navigation etc. if that's a choice and just stay with the watch, the watch is fine imho.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    .............................
    If you have to you could use a smart phone mount for navigation etc. if that's a choice and just stay with the watch, the watch is fine imho.
    I considered that, but ....
    I decided to keep it simple i.e. the watch should be enough.
    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  15. #15
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    Thanks everyone!
    I decided to just use the watch. That should give me enough info on Garmin Connect.
    Cheers

    HJ
    ------------------------------
    Hans-Joerg Mueller
    Coldstream, BC Canada

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhB_HJ View Post
    Thanks everyone!
    I decided to just use the watch. That should give me enough info on Garmin Connect.
    There are some smoking good deals on Garmin smart watches this weekend if you shop around, I know all the Fenix watches are on sale not sure about the Vivoactive series. I just ordered a Fenix 6x to upgrade from my Fenix 5x yesterday, should be here Friday. (now I have to find a buyer for the 5x)

    I like using the smart watch for lots of things including sleep tracking. On the bike I use a 1030, but the 5x does most everything the 1030 does and more in some case (like topo maps etc). I just like being able to see the information while riding more readily.
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