Pffft! Garmin

Look, I love most of my Garmin gear – I love the heart rate monitor, I love my little foot pod (for running) and I love the little contraption near my bike’s rear wheel that logs distance and cadence. When working properly. You see, the way that it logs cadence and distance are my two little magnets that are fixed to the pedal crank and to the spokes of the rear wheel. So you need the magnet. The rear wheel magnet is fine – it’s tightened onto the spoke with a nut-and-screw-style setup – the magnet is the “screw” and a little piece of plastic is the “nut”.

It’s the crank magnet I’ve had problems with. All you are provided with are stickers and cable ties. You stick the magnet onto the inside of the crank and then tighten it with the cable tie on the outside of the magnet. It’s a shit system. The cable tie easily slips off, and the sticker doesn’t hold. I ordered a replacement crank magnet online (which comes with the spoke magnet), and after thoroughly cleaning the crank, tried again. A few weeks later I lost the magnet again. Bah! I don’t really want to build a stock-pile of spoke magnets… so I just gave up.

Well, at least the Garmin-supplied cable ties are good

Now that my bike’s rideable again, I started looking into the matter again. Garmin themselves weren’t helpful, just telling me to keep purchasing the replacement set. Then I found a random review on Wiggle about how I wasn’t the only one with crank magnet problems and that they solved theirs with the help of a Cateye magnet.

Well guess who turned up in the post a few days later?!?!

A cable tie through a plastic cap that covers the magnet – genius! Simple, too.

And yes, he works perfectly well with the Garmin. If you’re making other purchases, then go for Wiggle or ProBikeKit (both have free postage if you spend over 80 pounds, and the magnet is about 3 pounds). If you just need the magnet, I used a seller on Ebay located in Australia. At about $10 (incl. postage), it cost less than the Garmin pair of replacement magnets, and thus was still a bargain in my opinion. Particularly as I don’t expect to have to purchase it again. (Of course, if you’re purchasing other stuff on PBK or Wiggle and meet free shipping, spend the $3-$4 there).

Welcome FR70

The FR70 clearly has a more flexible strap than the FR60!

My FR60 met an unfortunate end – one that even DC Rainmaker’s FR60 had met. The strap tore. I still don’t understand how this could happen, but happen it did.  At least I’m not alone in doing this. However, the unit was only 4 months old! It was actually a replacement unit for my original FR60, which had internal fog occurring after about 10 months, so the second FR60 was out of warranty.

I was initially going to buy another FR60 to replace it, but when I read that the FR70 had a better wrist-strap I happily paid the extra $29 for the newer model. Also, I could really only get the FR60 cheap in lilac, and I struggled to bring myself to do it. The FR70 wrist-strap saved me from lilac. I actually had the option of repairing the wrist strap on my FR60, but at a cost of about 65% of the new FR70, it didn’t seem economical. Especially given that my tear was not a one-off.

The FR60/FR70 cannot be purchased without a heart-rate monitor, of which I already have one. It was a downside to purchasing another FR60/FR70, but at least the FR70 comes with the newer heart-rate monitor. I tinkered with the idea of getting a GPS enabled watch, but after doing the research found that the only one I really liked was the Forerunner 610 – the 910XT was nice in terms of functionality, but not so nice style-wise. It’s a bit of a tank. Style is why I went for the slightly larger men’s model of the FR70 – I wasn’t particularly keen on the pink or the swirls of the women’s model. The FR70 is a more discreet watch than the Forerunner 610, although it doesn’t look as clean (the 610 has a touchscreen, which removes the need for lots of buttons).

When I thought that the main reason why I would want GPS, I decided it was for when I cycled. Looking at the Edge 500 and Edge 800, I thought that I’d be far happier with that on my bike than I would be with the 610. So I ended up with the FR70.

Yes, they’re all Garmin as I already have the foot pod and bike sensors that are compatible with Garmin and the ANT+ system.