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Bike Computer upload basics newbie

Old 04-27-22, 10:42 AM
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Mark AC
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Bike Computer upload basics newbie

I have never used a Power Meter before and have some basic questions about connectivity to a bike computer. If there is an online resource that answers these questions, I'd love a link. So far haven't found it online.

A decade ago I ran a few marathons, then plantar fasciitis. Always rode a bike, been doing more the last few years. I am not an elite, just a recreational guy. Never done a bike race, curious. I'm 55. I'd like to ride faster and farther, exploring power meter to train more effectively. I like numbers and stats, it helped with my marathon running years ago.

I have the Polar Vantage M HRM, has GPS built in, like it a lot. Currently using PolarFlow which automatically uploads to free Strava account.

Polar has bluetooth connectivity. If I get a Power Meter, apparently it can connect with Polar, but no real time numbers. Apparently a bike computer mounted on handlebars would give me real time numbers, easily seen. On power meters, some connections are bluetooth, some ANT+. Could use mobile phone (bluetooth only), but curious about a dedicated bike computer. I like the Polar Vantage M and will continue to use it, but would like to add compatible devices, such as power meter and head unit.

I am curious about Favero Assioma Uno for pedal based power meter, but open to others if compatible and quality.

When I upload, do all stats and numbers merge into a single file? Polar HRM, GPS (from Polar or from bike computer), power, cadence, etc.? Would Polar HRM send real time numbers on heart rate to bike computer? Would the bike computer collect all numbers and then upload entire file? Or would there be multiple uploads to software that merges later? If power meter connects ANT+ and Polar connects bluetooth, can both be connected to bike computer at once for real time numbers, or would that only be in a merged file for analysis later?

For upload, what do you use? I am curious about GoldenCheetah, but open to others. I have free Strava account. Curious about WKO.

If I understand things correctly, a proper bike computer can collect data from any device, bluetooth or ANT+, perhaps both simultaneously, and uploading data from any bike computer will work with software that can import. Is this correct?

I think I need to understand these basics before I make any purchasing decisions. Any suggestions welcome about finding links that explain this, or a brief explanation here if that would do it. Thanks.
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Old 04-27-22, 12:26 PM
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According to Polar, the Polar Vantage M HRM is only BLe. No Ant+ support. So all your sensors will have to be broadcast bluetooth. And since the messaging between them is not standardized as it is with Ant+, the compatibility of any brands bluetooth sensor to your particular device might be a more of a toss up. However I don't use bluetooth HR's, wheel sensors, PMs or other fitness things. All my experience is with Ant+ stuff. So others might know better or not be as biased.

Ant+ IMO is a better protocol since it's more well defined and structured specifically for communication between fitness sensors and a ant+ capable gps device. So you might consider your whole picture of cycling and or fitness stuff.

Though Bluetooth works for many, it's got a few more unique issues. But for those that want their phones to also connect to sensors or act as a fitness device, Bluetooth is the only real option as few phones have native support for Ant+. Though Samsung and I think Apple iPhones had native support, but I think that might be dwindling in their new offerings. Or at least it's been removed from the new Samsung S22, S22+ and S22 ultra.

Last edited by Iride01; 04-27-22 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 04-27-22, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark AC View Post
...

Polar has bluetooth connectivity. If I get a Power Meter, apparently it can connect with Polar, but no real time numbers. Apparently a bike computer mounted on handlebars would give me real time numbers, easily seen. On power meters, some connections are bluetooth, some ANT+. Could use mobile phone (bluetooth only), but curious about a dedicated bike computer. I like the Polar Vantage M and will continue to use it, but would like to add compatible devices, such as power meter and head unit.

I am curious about Favero Assioma Uno for pedal based power meter, but open to others if compatible and quality.

...
Here are a couple links. A review of the Vantage M, with instructions on how to show which data are available in activities (you should be able to add power). And a review of the Favero Assioma (an older post) and a roundup of all the power meter pedals available today (a new post). If you like Look Keo style cleats, they can't be beat. They will work with your Vantage watch, or with any other head unit you'd like to get in the future, since they support both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+.

Originally Posted by Mark AC View Post
...
When I upload, do all stats and numbers merge into a single file? Polar HRM, GPS (from Polar or from bike computer), power, cadence, etc.? Would Polar HRM send real time numbers on heart rate to bike computer? Would the bike computer collect all numbers and then upload entire file? Or would there be multiple uploads to software that merges later? If power meter connects ANT+ and Polar connects bluetooth, can both be connected to bike computer at once for real time numbers, or would that only be in a merged file for analysis later?
...
All the data will go into one file, recorded on one device, either your watch, or a bike computer. There's no need to record on two devices. Most bike computers (Garmin in any case) will accept Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ sensor inputs simultaneously. I don't think the Assioma pedals will connect to more than one Bluetooth device at a time (I could be wrong about that) but they will connect to an unlimited number of ANT+ devices, plus one Bluetooth device simultaneously.

Originally Posted by Mark AC View Post
...
For upload, what do you use? I am curious about GoldenCheetah, but open to others. I have free Strava account. Curious about WKO.
...
I've only ever used Strava.
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Old 04-27-22, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
According to Polar, the Polar Vantage M HRM is only BLe. No Ant+ support. So all your sensors will have to be broadcast bluetooth. And since the messaging between them is not standardized as it is with Ant+, the compatibility of any brands bluetooth sensor to your particular device might be a more of a toss up. However I don't use bluetooth HR's, wheel sensors, PMs or other fitness things. All my experience is with Ant+ stuff. So others might know better or not be as biased.

Ant+ IMO is a better protocol since it's more well defined and structured specifically for communication between fitness sensors and a ant+ capable gps device. So you might consider your whole picture of cycling and or fitness stuff.

Though Bluetooth works for many, it's got a few more unique issues. But for those that want their phones to also connect to sensors or act as a fitness device, Bluetooth is the only real option as few phones have native support for Ant+. Though Samsung and I think Apple iPhones had native support, but I think that might be dwindling in their new offerings. Or at least it's been removed from the new Samsung S22, S22+ and S22 ultra.
Most new sensors broadcast both BLe and ANT+ simultaneously.
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Old 04-27-22, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cuevélo View Post
Most new sensors broadcast both BLe and ANT+ simultaneously.
So? I know that. However it's got nothing to do with the point I was attempting to make.

IMO, Ant+ is a better protocol for fitness device and sensor communication. Unless you are forced to do Bluetooth because one of the components in your inventory will only do bluetooth.
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Old 04-28-22, 01:44 AM
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OP, are you sure Vantage M cannot display real-time power? According to user manual:

“The watch measures your power data during your running or cycling sessions if you pair the watch with a separate running or cycling power sensor. You can choose the power data you want to view during your sessions by customizing the training views in the Flow web service sport profile settings.”

If it can, you can pair up the Assioma pedals and you’re good to go, continuing to upload your now power-rich ride to Strava as you’ve been doing.

If not, then you should probably reevaluate your commitment to Vantage M for cycling. I’m guessing it would be simpler and more satisfying to put together a new kit of heart rate monitor, power meter, and GPS head unit, than try to cobble something together which involves the Vantage M.
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Old 04-28-22, 04:26 AM
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The easiest thing is to have all the data go to one device (and one file).

If, for some odd reason you can't, I suspect Golden Cheetah would work reasonably well to merge the activities (it's a good peice of software).

The Vantage M supports powered meters (including the one you mentioned).

https://support.polar.com/en/which-t...-polar-vantage

DC Rainmaker says the watch can broadcast HR to other devices including Garmin head units.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2021/04/a-look-at-polars-new-heart-rate-broadcasting-for-apps-like-zwift-and-peloton.html​​​​​

So, the only thing you are missing is a compatible powered meter.

The watch will work but a cycle computer might be easier to use while cycling (but you can buy that later).

You'll get complete data in a single file (with either the watch or the cycle computer).

​​​​​​

Last edited by njkayaker; 04-28-22 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 04-28-22, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post

DC Rainmaker says the watch can broadcast HR to other devices including Garmin head units.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2021/04/a-look-at-polars-new-heart-rate-broadcasting-for-apps-like-zwift-and-peloton.html​​​​​

​​​​​​
If I read that right, the OP’s Vantage M is not included among those Polar models with the HR broadcast feature:

Stashed away on the Ignite 2 is the beginnings of Polar’s new heart rate broadcasting feature, which enables it to broadcast your heart rate from the optical HR sensor built into the watch, to apps like Zwift, Peloton, and more – even bike computers. It does this using Bluetooth Smart. More importantly though, this feature will be lit up on the Polar Vantage M2, Vantage V2, and Grit X watches later this year in a firmware update.”

This is why I say the OP may want to reevaluate the Vantage M as a piece of their cycling data system if it cannot display real-time power. I mean, I don’t think for cycling training, a watch makes a good head unit from an ergonomic perspective; I’m trying to imagine hauling away on the bars during a high-intensity interval and somehow looking at the watch at the same time…

I suppose the watch could be strapped to the bars, but then you lose the HR functionality and need to add a HR strap, at which point you’re only like $150 away from a fully cycling specific computer like a Bryton Rider 420 or something.
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Old 04-28-22, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
If I read that right, the OP’s Vantage M is not included among those Polar models with the HR broadcast feature:

Stashed away on the Ignite 2 is the beginnings of Polar’s new heart rate broadcasting feature, which enables it to broadcast your heart rate from the optical HR sensor built into the watch, to apps like Zwift, Peloton, and more – even bike computers. It does this using Bluetooth Smart. More importantly though, this feature will be lit up on the Polar Vantage M2, Vantage V2, and Grit X watches later this year in a firmware update.”
Err. Missed that.

That review was a year ago and he seemed to imply that it was some what likely that Polar would update the watch.

It looks like Polar released firmware a month ago that enables it on the Vantage M.

https://support.polar.com/en/updates...-2012-firmware

Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
This is why I say the OP may want to reevaluate the Vantage M as a piece of their cycling data system if it cannot display real-time power. I mean, I don’t think for cycling training, a watch makes a good head unit from an ergonomic perspective; I’m trying to imagine hauling away on the bars during a high-intensity interval and somehow looking at the watch at the same time…

I suppose the watch could be strapped to the bars, but then you lose the HR functionality and need to add a HR strap, at which point you’re only like $150 away from a fully cycling specific computer like a Bryton Rider 420 or something.
I agree not being able to use the watch isn't that big of a deal. And a cycle computer should be better on the bike.

He should be able to use just the watch now. And move to a cycle computer later.

If he wants to use a cycle computer, he might need to get another HR monitor (they aren't that expensive). Unless Polar updates the firmware. Even with updated firmware, another HR monitor might work better.

Merging files to avoid buying a HR monitor is probably not worth the hassle.

Last edited by njkayaker; 04-28-22 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 04-28-22, 06:35 AM
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I use a Garmin 1030+ computer, with Stages single side power meter, and Wahoo heart rate strap. I upload my rides to Garmin Connect, and get all the data I need for my purposes.
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Old 04-28-22, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark AC View Post
I have never used a Power Meter before and have some basic questions about connectivity to a bike computer. If there is an online resource that answers these questions, I'd love a link. So far haven't found it online.

A decade ago I ran a few marathons, then plantar fasciitis. Always rode a bike, been doing more the last few years. I am not an elite, just a recreational guy. Never done a bike race, curious. I'm 55. I'd like to ride faster and farther, exploring power meter to train more effectively. I like numbers and stats, it helped with my marathon running years ago.

I have the Polar Vantage M HRM, has GPS built in, like it a lot. Currently using PolarFlow which automatically uploads to free Strava account.

Polar has bluetooth connectivity. If I get a Power Meter, apparently it can connect with Polar, but no real time numbers. Apparently a bike computer mounted on handlebars would give me real time numbers, easily seen. On power meters, some connections are bluetooth, some ANT+. Could use mobile phone (bluetooth only), but curious about a dedicated bike computer. I like the Polar Vantage M and will continue to use it, but would like to add compatible devices, such as power meter and head unit.

I am curious about Favero Assioma Uno for pedal based power meter, but open to others if compatible and quality.

When I upload, do all stats and numbers merge into a single file? Polar HRM, GPS (from Polar or from bike computer), power, cadence, etc.? Would Polar HRM send real time numbers on heart rate to bike computer? Would the bike computer collect all numbers and then upload entire file? Or would there be multiple uploads to software that merges later? If power meter connects ANT+ and Polar connects bluetooth, can both be connected to bike computer at once for real time numbers, or would that only be in a merged file for analysis later?

For upload, what do you use? I am curious about GoldenCheetah, but open to others. I have free Strava account. Curious about WKO.

If I understand things correctly, a proper bike computer can collect data from any device, bluetooth or ANT+, perhaps both simultaneously, and uploading data from any bike computer will work with software that can import. Is this correct?

I think I need to understand these basics before I make any purchasing decisions. Any suggestions welcome about finding links that explain this, or a brief explanation here if that would do it. Thanks.
Hello, I am the developer of the Cykelstrom Bicycle Power Meter App. My app will automatically upload your data to Strava and you can connect your power meter, cadence, heart rate and other sensors. In addition, if you would like to become a test rider for me, I will let you use it for free.

Please visit my web site: https://www.cykelstrom.com

Take a look and if you are interested, drop me a message either here or at support on my web site and I will help you get set up.

Kind regards,
Chuck
Developer, Cykelstrom.com
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Old 05-04-22, 10:54 AM
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thank you

Thank you all for your thoughts. What I got from posts, and what I did:

Yes, the Polar will display real time PM numbers, but I don't like the idea of looking at wrist and wanted a handlebar mounted computer. Easier to glance at on ride. Also, Polar is BlueTooth only, not ANT+. I agree based on many other sources that ANT+ is better, and yet Polar seems to refuse to provide any ANT+ connectivity with any devices. I did look at Polar M460 bike computer, but it is BT only, no ANT+, which was a disappointment to many other reviewers. Many sources say it is discontinued by Polar, but it still seems to be available, and relatively cheap. Thought Polar M460 may be the simplest solution, but decided against it primarily for no ANT+. Also, Polar data seems difficult to export to anything but Strava.

njkayaker and others pointed out I could get another HRM. I was thinking another watch at $300+, but that isn't necessary. I could just get a HRM chest strap. :-)
So, I ordered a Garmin Edge 530 with Garmin HRM chest strap (ANT+ and BT) and also ordered the Favero Assioma Uno pedal PM (ANT+ and BT) The HRM chest strap was only $50, so essentially I have a complete system that is ANT+. If I want, I can use PM as BT with Polar watch (built in HRM), but no handlebar screen if I do, but that's a backup. I can still keep and use the Polar watch for non-bike exercise.

I am used to the Polar Flow system, and will have to learn the Garmin Connect system. Should be fairly easy. I can still have Garmin linked to Strava for bike rides, so I do not lose any data on rides I logged with Polar. I can discontinue Polar > Strava connectivity and just add Garmin logged rides in Strava. I am on the 30 day trial for Strava subscriber, if that shows all data I need to see, then I've got it. While Golden Cheetah and Training Peaks and others are options, if Strava does it all I'm done. Simple solution.

PM and Garmin arrive in a few days. In future, when Polar watch wears out (should be several years yet) I can then choose to get another Polar watch or move to Garmin, as Garmin is my new bike computer. Garmin watch would be HRM with no strap needed, but didn't want two watches and didn't want to spend that money now. But I really wanted data for bicycling, especially Power Meter, and Garmin seemed the best option.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing. I was worried about trying to get a bike computer that would work with Polar as that was my HRM, but the only option was either no bike computer, or use the Polar BT only bike computer. I opted for ANT+ which means changing systems somewhat, but the HRM did not need to be a full activity watch, chest strap only. Essentially leaving Polar watch out of system, but keeping it as a backup. So, all is well.

Thanks for ideas everyone as I was thinking "out loud" to arrive at best solution.
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Old 05-04-22, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark AC View Post
. If I want, I can use PM as BT with Polar watch (built in HRM), but no handlebar screen if I do, but that's a backup. I can still keep and use the Polar watch for non-bike exercise.
You can run the watch in bike mode of you want all your data in Polar Flow, and leave it on your wrist since your 530 will tell you anything you need to know in the moment.

You can't also find a cheap handlebar mount for your watch. Or make one.

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