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Garmin Speed & Cadence Sensors V2 with ANT+/Bluetooth Smart: In-Depth Review

Garmin Speed & Cadence Sensors V2 with ANT+/Bluetooth Smart: In-Depth Review


In the extremely not likely match that you just didn’t get sufficient Garmin information as of late with the announcement of 2 logo new head devices (the Edge 530 and Edge 830, see evaluations at the ones hyperlinks), you’ve additionally were given your self some new sensors to toss at the to-read pile.

This put up might be section ‘finally!’, and section ‘as expected’. Today Garmin in any case introduced twin ANT+/Bluetooth Smart variants in their magnetless pace and cadence sensors, which had up to now been ANT+ most effective. An replace was once relatively anticipated alternatively, given Garmin’s announcement of a twin ANT+/BLE middle price straps 3 months in the past. The purpose of most of these new sensors is making it simple to make use of them with apps like Zwift or TrainerHighway on smartphones, or Apple TV.

However, what could be sudden this is that the magnetless pace sensor if truth be told has just a little of a celebration trick: It can file rides even while you don’t have an app or software actively hooked up to it. Yup, the little pod won a mind and will now be mindful any rides you entire sans-GPS, shifting them to Garmin Connect (and even Strava) afterwards – best for motorcycle commuters.

I’ve had media loaners of each units of pods for…neatly…a large number of months now, so a lot of time to get into the main points and nuances of the way all of them paintings (if truth be told, approach…approach…far more time and element than I ever sought after to grasp). Once I’m accomplished with the flotilla of them that I now have, I’ll get them again to Garmin right here within the new function – and perhaps cross out and get my very own to equip a few of my motorcycle fleet right here. But extra on my plans just a little later.

Oh, and normally I don’t free up in-depth product overview threesomes all at the very same moment in this website. But, every now and then issues deliberate for one period of time get shifted to a completely other length. Thus, a threesome occurs. Today’s that day.

What’s within the containers:


I really like easy containers. Because it manner I am getting to put in writing much less textual content and concentrate on consuming extra cookies. Starting with the velocity sensor field, it’s gray – like the elements out of doors my window right here in Amsterdam:


Inside right here’s what you’ve were given after shaken onto a desk.


First, there’s a small guide. It explains the best way to use a rubber band twelve occasions. Once for every of the twelve language sits written in:


Next, there’s a small protection information. It additionally repeats the entirety twelve occasions. Specifically it tells you to not devour the batteries, and to seek the advice of a TV technician in case your cadence or pace sensor isn’t operating. Really, I’m now not kidding.


Oh, after which there’s a bag with the velocity sensor itself. This is it:


Next, there’s the cadence sensor field:


And the stuffs inside of:


It too has the very same paper stuff. In reality, it’s the similar guide and protection papers for each.


Except in contrast to the velocity sensor, you get two baggies right here. One comprises two rubber bands, relying to your crank arm measurement. If you’ve were given a big crank, you’ll use the bigger rubber. If you’ve were given a smaller crank, you’ll want a smaller rubber (and possibly an outsized truck to compensate).


And then right here’s the cadence sensor all in put in combination. It appears tremendous very similar to Garmin’s previous magnetless sensor, albeit an itty-bitty-bit other on the subject of some slants.


Oh, and when you occur to shop for the mix field? Yup, all of the very same stuff in one consolidated field – saving the arena an additional field an an additional set of manuals telling you the best way to seek the advice of TV technicians and use rubber bands:


And now my unboxing task is finished. Overkill, sure. Unnecessary, completely. But accomplished.

How it really works – Speed Sensor:

We’ll get started with the velocity sensor first. Getting it put in calls for both consulting with some of the twelve language iterations within the guide, or, the usage of commonplace sense. You can make a selection to put in it to your entrance or rear wheel hub. If you put in it to your rear wheel hub, then it’ll paintings whilst on maximum running shoes (assuming your wheel remains to your motorcycle in fact).  In my case alternatively, my rear wheel has a PowerTap energy meter hub in it. As such, there’s some identified magnetic interference there – so I simply stick it at the entrance wheel as a substitute:


The similar is correct of our shipment motorcycle which I’m additionally the usage of it on – because the rear wheel is just too giant for it.

DSC_9469DSC_9469 DSC_9468DSC_9468

And what in case your rear wheel hub is simply too giant for the band (as was once my different commuter motorcycle)? Well, if so I simply used a secondary rubber band. It’s hardly ever very best, but it surely does paintings.

In any case, with all that accomplished you’ll wish to pair it up in Garmin Connect Mobile. You’ll cross so as to add gadgets within the app, and so long as you’ve circled your wheel a couple of occasions to wake it up, it will have to to find it straight away.

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Next it’ll ask for the tire measurement or even will help you input what’s written at the sidewall precisely as its written:


It most effective takes a moment so as to add it, which then will display up within the gadgets menu, and help you tweak some settings, particularly your weight and wheel measurement. Also, you’ll be able to test for firmware updates and spot the battery standing, in addition to be informed concerning the sensor signs:

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Now, earlier than we get to this sensors little trick – let’s take a step again and communicate a extra standard configuration – pairing it to a motorcycle pc. Here’s it paired as an ANT+ sensor to a Garmin head unit. Simply cross into the sensors menu and both seek for all sensors, or extra particularly seek for simply pace sensors. Then upload it (upload the ANT+ variant if to be had, so that you don’t devour up any of the Bluetooth channels, as there’s limitless ANT+ channels however most effective two Bluetooth Smart channels):

DSC_9472DSC_9472 DSC_9471DSC_9471

You can specify your wheel’s circumference, which is needed for it figuring out distance. Alternatively, Garmin head devices (and maximum others as neatly), will routinely calculate the wheel circumference if left clean, the usage of GPS. So to your subsequent journey, typically about 1/4th to at least one/2 a mile later it’ll provide you with slightly pop-up message that claims “Wheel size calibrated”. I’d counsel doing this on roads the place the GPS sign is excellent. Don’t do that at first of a trail-head on a number of switchbacks.


Now, because the major factor of this sensor over others is the facility to peer it by means of Bluetooth Smart, right here’s it’s with a Suunto Spartan Trainer:


And simply positive with the Wahoo Fitness app:

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In reality, like Garmin’s new HRM-DUAL, this software helps two concurrent Bluetooth Smart connections (plus ANT+). Thus in general sensor can maintain 3+ concurrent connections:

A) ANT+: It can maintain an infinite selection of connections by means of ANT+
B) Bluetooth Smart #1: The first to be had Bluetooth Smart connection channel
C) Bluetooth Smart #2: The moment to be had Bluetooth Smart connection channel

Of direction, the principle reason why you’d use this sensor is to show pace and distance to your motorcycle pc, perhaps off-road. For probably the most section, GPS is greater than correct and strong sufficient at the moment on-road for many cyclists.  Whereas off-road mountain-biking in dense woodland or with switchbacks, that’s the place you’d most definitely desire a pace sensor to provide you with higher distance accuracy and higher tempo steadiness.

But Garmin determined so as to add a singular function to this new pace sensor that provides it ‘value’ for on-road cyclists: Offline caching of your workout routines.

This function implies that the sensor will routinely get started a brand new exercise (sans-GPS) each and every time you get started pedaling. And then a couple of mins after your motorcycle stops shifting, it’ll finish the consultation. This is tremendous fascinating for motorcycle commuters that would possibly not in point of fact care about beginning a GPS consultation for his or her day by day rides, however have an interest within the totals being accounted for.

So I did precisely that – I put the sensor on our shipment motorcycle, which I exploit as my day after day getting round city motorcycle and the way we get the children moved across the town (we don’t have a automobile, it’s Amsterdam in any case).

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This intended that each and every time I went someplace it’d merely file the journey. No want for me to open an app on my telephone or convey a Garmin GPS software alongside.  After the journey it quietly saves the record, however doesn’t sync it in your telephone till the following time the sensor wakes up. So for the general public that implies your morning journey to paintings would sync within the night time while you began pedaling.  Of direction, you’ll be able to all the time cross get up the sensor and sync it every time you need.  This leads to rides that appear to be this in Garmin Connect Mobile:

IMG_5691IMG_5691 IMG_5692IMG_5692 IMG_5693IMG_5693

In reality, those rides also are transferred to platforms like Strava too. The most effective drawback I guess is when you use your motorcycle so much all the way through the day for errands as I do – that is what your day looks as if. A random Friday in my case:

IMG_5690IMG_5690 IMG_5695IMG_5695

Which in flip manner I had most of these additionally in Strava. These are thought to be legitimate workout routines from a record perspective, no other than a five hour journey.  My recommendation to Garmin can be to permit me to set a minimal distance threshold for sync to third celebration products and services. Just don’t sync the ones.


Garmin says they’ll believe it, however that within the period in-between you’ll be able to flip off the process advent bit altogether if you need. Or, you should simply disable the pairing to Garmin Connect Mobile. Either approach.

Still, it’s a fab resolution – and in truth, I’d love to peer Garmin believe increasing it.  For instance, what if that sensor if truth be told activated GPS to your telephone and recorded the GPS observe. Just like Fitbit’s ‘Connected GPS’ function’. Obviously that’d be person configurable, however once more for motorcycle commuters it’s one much less step than having to start out/prevent a GPS consultation. Being in a position to simply have it observe that within the background can be great – and most probably now not an enormous hit for the general public with brief commutes.

Accuracy-wise I’ve been performing some longer concurrent rides with each the velocity sensor and GPS aspect through aspect. Obviously, that’s relatively imperfect as a result of if I’m speaking a 50KM journey, then I don’t actually know which is which. In this situation although, I’m in search of it to cross the sanity check, which is to mention that it will have to be ‘really darn close’, and now not one thing wonky. Typically after I’ve observed magnetless sensor problems, the wonky is quickly obvious in both having a look on the information, or the ensuing cumulative distances.

For amusing, right here’s Sunday’s journey:


Now, what if truth be told came about there may be that we stopped our GPS gadgets on the practice station, then ran like hell to make the practice (rolling the motorcycles subsequent to us). Since the sensor is accelerometer pushed, it if truth be told by no means went to sleep – even at the practice because of the bumps and us every so often shifting the motorcycles round to deal with folks.  So it then recorded the space post-train journey, as I rode house.

So if I prevent the space on the similar level as after I stopped the opposite devices, right here’s what I’ve were given:

Garmin V2 Magnetless Speed Sensor: 58.53km
Garmin Edge 530: 58.52km
Garmin Edge 830: 58.47km
Polar Vantage V: 58.67km

Of direction, there’s additionally some nuances there too. I rode a couple of hundred additional meters earlier than I began the Edge gadgets which the sensor accounted for. So I attempted to zap that from the start too through in search of the paused time.

Here’s how pace overlaid on that journey between the Edge 530, Edge 830, and pace sensor. Neither the Edge 530 or 830 have been paired to the velocity sensor. The pace sensor was once merely doing its personal factor after which synced the journey to my telephone after the truth:


And, if you wish to dig even additional into the knowledge fields, right here’s the space accumulation over the years (additionally in my information set), which displays that the devices are frivolously including distance. The Vantage does some bizarre information record stuff that hoses up the graph just a little with the dropouts, however in a different way, it’s following the similar curve.


I’ve additionally down numerous rides between my doorstep and place of business door, and ended up with close to exactly the similar distance every time. Given I typically take one among two motorcycle paths the similar actual approach every time, it’s a sexy constant check.  Though, I’ve been tempted to take the shipment motorcycle out onto the native working observe. But, I don’t suppose that’d be seemed kindly upon.

How it really works – Cadence Sensor:

Switching over to the cadence sensor, it’s even more uncomplicated than the velocity sensor. First, you’ll make the most of the ones rubber band abilities to glue it in your crank arm. The advice can be to position it at the within the crank arm, since that provides you with just a little extra coverage from the out of doors of your motorcycle the place your shoe might swipe previous it:


Note that it integrated two rubber bands relying on crank arm measurement. Also, do no less than one rotation of your crank arm earlier than you head out of doors, merely to validate there’s no clearance problems – particularly when you’ve got a really perfect high-end triathlon motorcycle with extraordinarily low clearance to the body. For this sensor you wish to have eight.18mm of clearance:


Pro Tip: Always put it to your left crank arm.

Again, for 99% of motorcycles in the market, that received’t be a subject. But for the 1%’ers, I integrated the information you wish to have to grasp. Plus, you’ll be able to slide the sensor nearer to the ground bracket if you wish to have to – no factor there. Usually there’s extra clearance down there.

Once that’s accomplished, it’s time to pair it as much as the gadgets of your selection. First up I gave it a whirl at the Polar Vantage V (short of to tell apart up to imaginable). No problems.


Here’s a journey the usage of the Garmin cadence sensor with the Vantage V (however extra on accuracy there in a second):


And then in the meantime on Garmin for the cadence over ANT+ (although this unit too can do Bluetooth Smart):


I additionally did it by means of Bluetooth Smart at the Suunto Spartan Trainer, and that paired simply positive. In reality, right here’s the knowledge from remaining month with it:


As you’d be expecting, you spot cadence to your head unit whilst you’re using. And, when you’re the usage of a third celebration app like Zwift, you’ll see it there too:

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So what about accuracy? At this level, issues are all excellent. I had some preliminary quirks some time again that experience since been resolved throughout the beta procedure (which, is what checking out and beta processes are for).  As of the remaining week or so I’ve if truth be told been using most commonly out of doors with it paired to a Polar Vantage V collection unit. Here’s how the knowledge compares aspect through aspect to the Stages LR (dual-sided) unit additionally transmitting cadence, on this case to an Edge 530:


However, that’s just a snippet of the journey. If I zoom again just a little and over to any other phase, then you definately’ll see there have been some abnormal drops over Bluetooth Smart with the Vantage V:


The precision of the ones drops is abnormal. and I don’t know if that’s a Garmin or Polar factor. I haven’t observed some other drops on some other gadgets that I’ve examined with. So that is without a doubt a primary. If I take a look at my earlier Polar Vantage V journey on Friday, I don’t see any dropouts (beneath). While it’s believable the dropouts aren’t if truth be told dropouts, that turns out not likely given the near-precise nature of them going down at the very same period.


Again, now not one thing I’ve observed with the rest I’ve examined – so in point of fact only a unmarried journey artifact I believe. Here’s a handy guide a rough journey once more, this time on Zwift by means of Bluetooth Smart, with none problems. In this situation, I began off at standard cadence (80-100RPM), after which I slowly crept right down to 21RPM, at which level it dropped out (as anticipated). Then I went all of the approach as much as 180RPM incessantly, no problems (clearly you’ll see slight single-second variations recording from 4 other head devices, as standard). Here’s that information set:


In addition, against the top I did some tremendous fast spin-ups, upwards of 180RPM. In that case, we do see it overcommit against 220RPM (well past what I will do, I typically most sensible out within the 180RPM vary). Though, seeing cadence problems at 180RPM isn’t exceptional, and albeit impacts however a fragment of one% of folks in the market.

Also of notice was once that I used to be recording the Garmin cadence on each the Bluetooth and ANT+ channels. The iPad for Zwift had it by means of Bluetooth Smart, whilst the Garmin Edge had it on ANT+.

As you’ll be able to see, just about similar.  Not that I be expecting any problems since that is principally confirmed tech simply including in Bluetooth Smart connectivity. However, there’s a lot of timing comparable nuances to broadcasting on any protocol, particularly Bluetooth Smart, that may purpose problems. The excellent information is the ones don’t seem to be a subject right here.

(Note: All of the charts in those accuracy parts have been created the usage of the DCR Analyzer device.  It means that you can examine energy meters/running shoes, middle price, cadence, pace/tempo, GPS tracks and many extra. You can use it as neatly on your personal system comparisons, extra main points right here.)



I utterly get it – sensors aren’t all that thrilling. Especially ones that are meant to were launched years in the past. The excellent information this is that just like the HRM-DUAL a couple of months again, those sensors grow to be the baseline for brand new sensors integrated in quite a lot of Garmin bundles. For instance the brand new Edge 530 and Edge 830 devices launched as of late have those twin ANT+/Bluetooth Smart sensors of their bundled variants. That’s significantly better than ANT+ most effective sensors.  So in the long run, it’ll prevent cash in a package deal as opposed to having to move out and purchase a third celebration sensor that prices extra.

Still, we’re seeing Garmin ever so rather push the envelope right here. Assuming one can envision a thrilling manila sensor-laden envelope. There’s no different Bluetooth Smart cadence or pace sensor available on the market that accepts twin Bluetooth Smart connections, let by myself one who accepts twin Bluetooth Smart connections plus an ANT+ connection. So when you’re on one thing like a Polar or Suunto software and wish to use Zwift similtaneously, now you’ll be able to if truth be told do this….by means of Garmin merchandise. Go determine.

Secondly, the automated caching of rides within the pace sensor is cool for sure audiences – particularly commuters. For maximum roadies or mountain motorcycle other people, you’re most definitely going to have a head unit at the motorcycle anyway. But for an around-town motorcycle, it’s a pleasant little contact that you just get your mileage added to Garmin Connect (or even Strava) on a daily basis.  The most effective drawback is that when you use that around-town motorcycle so much on a daily basis (as we do), then it frankly kinda muddies the water just a little (once more, you’ll be able to flip it off if you need). Still, laborious to bitch about that.

If you’re available in the market for brand new sensors on your motorcycle, those appear to be an obtrusive selection. Like the HRM-DUAL, Garmin is principally matching the contest after which including in a tiny few extras that you just’re like ‘Ok, it’s the similar value, would possibly as neatly simply get this as a substitute’. So whilst they’re (tremendous) overdue to the celebration….no less than they introduced Timbits.

Found this overview helpful? Or simply desire a excellent deal? Here’s how:

Hopefully you discovered this overview helpful. At the top of the day, I’m an athlete identical to you in search of probably the most element imaginable on a brand new acquire – so my overview is written from the perspective of the way I used the software. The evaluations normally take a large number of hours to position in combination, so it’s a good bit of labor (and hard work of affection). As you most likely spotted through having a look beneath, I additionally take time to reply to all of the questions posted within the feedback – and there’s reasonably just a little of element in there as neatly. 

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Garmin Speed/Cadence Sensors (new ANT+/Bluetooth Smart ones)

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