HRM and cadence; cut to the chase on recommendations
Information overload on this topic so looking for advice.
I need to conveniently monitor my heart rate and cadence as I ride. I'd rather it be displayed on a large dedicated display that I can leave on the bike than on my cellphone but I have a Note 2 phone which is awesome so it would ok too if the solution was on an integrated application on the phone but not the preferred solution. Anything over and above is just nice to have but I am also not worried about price so if I have to pay for extra function for overall reliability and accuracy that's fine.
Is is there a clear Best make and model of HRM and same for cadence device? This will go on a Turner Sultan if that makes a difference. Is the Edge 500 what I'm after for display head? The reviews for the 510 and 810 don't really get me excited. What am I missing? Seems there should be better high end solutions in this age.
There really aren't any "higher end" solutions for cadence, unless you get a power meter. Which doesn't exactly measure cadence directly but provides data that's more useful than cadence.
Your phone is giant, so it would be far from ideal to use on the bike. As soon as you stuff it into a pack or a pocket, its GPS reception is going to go down the $hitter.
I would expect that the biggest reason you're unimpressed with the reviews for the Edge 510 and 810 is because both of those are relatively new models and Garmin has a long history of addressing bugs through firmware updates. The Edge 500 and practically every other model was exactly the same in that regard within a year of its release, too.
Thanks for the reply. Got to set you right on one point. I always keep my phone safe deep in my camelback when MB riding or in a sealed special pocket in my airplane so I can do acro and I've never seen an instance later where it ever dropped any location data when I review the recording.
Originally Posted by NateHawk
Also, one of the amazon picked most helpful category reviews with one of the Edge bike computers specifically stated that garmin has a history of putting buggy sw and Not being quick about fixing them in the bike line and customer service was poor if you called to get their help trying to get to root cause of a problem. As an airplane and former boat owner, I've had a lot of different garmin experiences. I'm not overly impressed with what I've seen in my limited search into bike computers considering the mass market of bikers as compared to recreational boaters or airplane operators around the world. And with Bluetooth being ubiquitous and phone apps out the wazoo I'd have thought there'd be a lot of very convenient and moderately priced quality solutions. Figured I'd get a jump start on the research here.
I don't know where you've been looking but aside from a few people with overly high expectations, Garmin's CS has been resoundingly good for a long time. They've been good to me and you'll hear the same from many others on this forum. I have only had one occasion I've needed to contact them over anything, but they took care of me no problem.
You really need to take Amazon reviews with a huge grain of salt, too. It's a major pasttime over there to write false ones.
Being in your airplane is HUGELY different from being in the bottom of your pack in the woods in a deep valley. Being in the sky is about as optimal as you can be for GPS reception. Unobstructed view of the horizon for 360 degrees. So a small increase in interference from stuffing your device in a backpack isn't going to make a huge difference. Being in the woods scatters GPS signals just because of the leaves on the trees. Then the terrain blocks signals outright and creates additional scattering and reflection. It's not a pretty environment for GPS reception. Then you're going to add more to it by tossing it into a pack and it's going to degrade noticeably. Control what you can. The best place for a GPS on your bike is on the stem or handlebars. Anything else is going to be effectively shooting yourself in the foot.
Otherwise, I'm not terribly sure what you want. You say you're not impressed...but by what? What do you want, and what do you feel is missing with various options you've seen?
At their core, dedicated GPS receivers don't really do a whole lot. All I really want the thing to do is receive GPS signals and record a file with position data in it. I want it to be able to filter out bad data, but I have tempered expectations here because there are a lot of factors at play and you can only do so much. I don't care if it measures within 5% or 10% of my buddies' computers. Every device has sources of error and as long as my device measures consistently with itself, I don't care what my buddies' computers say.
Any sensor that transmits wirelessly to a head unit is going to have issues from time to time if you have a large enough sample size. If you're reading about people's problems with one sensor or another, it comes with the territory. You will have occasional issues regardless of the platform you use.
I have never encountered a major problem with Garmin's firmware that limited my ability to use the device that Garmin did not address immediately. Garmin issued a bad firmware update for the Edge 705 years ago that bricked my receiver. They sent me a new one right away. That did not damage my faith in the company at all because they handled it appropriately. Small issues, sure. They were all addressed.
I don't get caught up in the people whining about accurate elevation measurements, either. Measuring elevation has a lot of inherent guesswork involved. Again, as long as my device is consistent, I don't care. I do enough long rides that weather systems tend to screw up my elevation data, and I just default to using the various DEM-based corrections where the spatial accuracy is what matters in the first place.
Have you looked at solutions like this?
Wahoo Fitness - RFLKT Bike Computer- Bike Computer for iPhone
Cheaper than a dedicated GPS unit, has the big display you want and is essentially future proof for connectivity.
That said, in my environment, a phone is pretty useless. Not enough sensitivity and the cold simply kills it. I love my edge 510 and have endured a couple of flaky firmware issues. As Nate said, it functioned just fine, but new firmware provided some optimization. That's life with technology and short product life cycles.
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