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Old 01-23-13, 10:04 PM   #1
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Bike Computer, GPS Watch, or iPhone/Cyclemeter?

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue:

Should I go with
1) A Garmin GPS bike computer like the 500,
2) A Garmin GPS watch like the Forerunner 410 or 610,
3) An iPhone running Cyclemeter.

The background is, I'm a cyclist who hopes to start running as I start my fitness program this year. My cycling is daily commuting, spin classes during the winter, weekend rides when the weather's better, and a century or two each year. The running is to add some variety to my exercise, because cycling isn't breaking me through my weight plateau; I think my body's gotten too used to the bike. On the bike, I want to track speed, distance, course/elevation, time/splits, heartrate, and maybe cadence. I'd like to track heartrate on the spin bike too. I'm not sure what I want to track for the running - maybe nearest place to puke? - but I guess speed, distance, heartrate to start.

The 1) Garmin bike computer would be paired with a speed/cadence sensor and a HR strap.

The 2) Garmin watch would be similarly paired. I think these can be mounted on handlebars too.

The 3) iPhone/Cyclemeter would be paired with speed/cadence, HR strap, and maybe a remote handlebar display (thinking about the Wahoo RFLKT) so I can keep the phone in my jersey.

I have the phone and Cyclemeter app, everything else I'd need to buy.

What do you think the pros and cons of these choices are? Which would you choose?

Last edited by jyl; 01-23-13 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 01-23-13, 10:34 PM   #2
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I have used cyclemeter, the garmin 500 and a small gps watch like device.
I went with the 500, but I do miss the cyclemeter audio alerts.
I ride at night alot and the audio alerts in cyclemeter are nicely configurable.
The 500 has more data and highly configurable screens that you can cycle through

I'd only go with the watch if jogging data was very important,
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Old 01-24-13, 04:52 AM   #3
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Just my opinion - think you'd be better off just using the bathroom scales to record weight loss and skipping the gadgets. If your body has adjusted to the bike and you want to work harder - do what many people do while jogging or training - wear weights.
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Old 01-24-13, 08:14 AM   #4
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I've had an Edge 500 for several years and am quite pleased with it for cycling. You can use it with a spin bike for HR recording/monitoring (disable auto-stop or the lack of speed sensor or GPS data will pause it). I've been using the 500 for running and it is acceptable but has limitations - no pace display (I can convert speed displayed in my head more or less), seems succeptible to errors in instantaneous displayed speed from arm movement (recorded data is usually fine), and a bit large to wear on arm. I've kludged up a wrist strap from a spare bike mount and a elastic/velcro arm band for MP3 players. Garmin makes a wrist mount (for another of their devices) that fits the 500 that may work better. Garmin has released the 500's successor, so you may be able to pick up one on close out. I am looking at other devices that support running better (size, wrist band, pace display) including indoors (footpod). If I was starting from scratch, the Garmin and competing vendor's triathlon watches (Garmin 310x for example) might be a better choice as it is designed for running & cycling and you can take it swimming (intentionally or otherwise!) as a bonus. The site and blog has a good set of user-oriented reviews and product comparisons.

I am unsatisfied with the phone-based systems. You need a phone and HR strap that can communicate; this may require an additional dongle. The phone is $$$ and easier to damage than a dedicated cyclecomputer/watch. Power consumption, IMO, will be a problem on longer rides. Since I already have a good cyclecomputer, there's not much reason for me to go this route. Your situation may differ from mine. Advantage is immediate upload of ride/run data to logging & social media sites, better screen for navigation, and possibility of real-time tracking if your phone has coverage. In my case, my family are usually the only people who really care how I am doing. A simple text message: "25 miles to go" and "Done!" and the all-important "home in 0:30" suffice.
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Old 01-24-13, 01:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
... because cycling isn't breaking me through my weight plateau; I think my body's gotten too used to the bike. ...
Getting more/better exercise is good, but you have to eat less. Count calories and restrict your caloric intake.
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Old 01-28-13, 07:40 PM   #6
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I have an iPhone 4S running Cyclemeter paired with a Wahoo Speed and Cadence sensor plus a Wahoo Blue HR. No dongle required, all by Bluetooth with the phone. If you already have an iPhone 4S or 5, I highly recommend. I have never used a Garmin so I cannot compare. I am very satisfied with Cyclemeter. More there than I will ever use. Speed, distance, cadence, HR, maps are all very accurate. Elevation works pretty well also if you are on well traveled roads. Many graphs and custom layouts are available.
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Old 01-28-13, 08:35 PM   #7
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The BIG advantage of the Garmin 500 is battery life. 10+ hours. I guess it depends how far you plan on riding (time).
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