Monday 3 April 2017

Product review: Garmin cycling speed and cadence sensor

I've churned through many speed and cadence sensors over the years - usually it requires fiddling around with magnets and zip ties that invariably get twisted and damaged. They're also liable to get knocked out of alignment or snapped off - particularly in a crowded triathlon transition zone.

Therefore, I haven't bothered for a while - but having done a few turbo sessions lately I wanted to at least keep an eye on my cadence. So, I thought I'd see what the latest offering from Garmin is.

The latest iteration of the Garmin bike speed and cadence sensors

Turns out it's completely redesigned from last time I bought one, and infinitely better. Rather than being triggered by a magnet passing a sensor, these sensors have simple tilt switches - no magnet required.

Contents of the box: Instructions, cadence sensor and bands, speed sensor and rubber housing

Fitting them is a breeze - just attach the cadence sensor to a crank arm (non-chainring side recommended) with the a rubber band (three sizes included), and the speed sensor to the hub. Nothing to line up, no further configuration required. It takes about two minutes form start to finish (including reseating the battery in the speed sensor as it wasn't transmitting at first).

The cadence sensor, fitted on the non-chainring side

A small LED on each sensor flashes green with each rotation of crank or wheel, so it's simple to see that installation is successful. The batteries should last a year under normal use. The LED starts to blink red when they need replacing.

The speed sensor in its rubber housing and mount

The profile is discrete, and it doesn't matter that it's not perfectly level

The sensor units appear to be well sealed from the elements. The only moving part is the battery cover - this is well made and fits snugly, with a small rubber seal to keep water and foreign materials out.

Connecting the sensors to a Garmin receiver is simple. I used a Fenix 3 HR and the pairing was immediate. No Bluetooth here - the sensors use ANT+ so don't expect a connection to a phone.

Pairing is simple and fast - Spd (speed) sensor connected, Cad (cadence) sensor awaiting connection

The Fenix supports renaming the sensors should you have multiple sets on multiple bikes - however fitting is so fast you could swap them across bikes easily.

I can't comment on longevity as it's only been fitted for a ride or two - but I'd certainly recommend it based on my experience so far. I bought this from Amazon, but it's available from most cycle accessory retailer.

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