Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

BigNath
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Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BigNath » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:30 pm

Hi everyone, first time poster here, and new to this cycling world.

I have recently purchased an Avanti Mountain Bike (Competitor 1) as I am trying to lose weight and get fitter like I was as a teenager..
In addition to this, I have signed up to ride in the Great Cycle Challenge cancer fundraiser in October.
So far, all is going well, but I have a question with logging my activities and what your opinions are on the following setup types:
1. Strava on iPhone 7
2. Dedicated bike GPS unit (Magellan Cycle 505 I currently have)
3. A GPS enabled smartwatch (Garmin Fenyx series for example)
All I want to do is easily track my distance and speeds accurately, and to be able to upload files easily to Strava and have it displayed on a map. Heart rate is a bonus for me, but not necessarily crucial at this time.

I am having a few issues with the Magellan unit, although this could easily be me getting used to it/having it setup properly etc...
When I use the Strava app on my iPhone 7, the data often gets messed up. A recent example had my 11km ride showing as a 30km ride, and the average speed was 211kph.... I live in Mt Gambier, South Australia and I know the Magellan unit is reporting the correct stats (11km ride at avg speed of around 20kph)
Am thinking of a GPS enabled smartwatch, but not sure...

I am wondering why my iPhone app data is so incorrect, where I'm going wrong with my Magellan unit, and what we all think about smartwatches.

What are you guys n girls using and why?

Cheers in advance,
BN

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby AUbicycles » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:05 am

Strava on the iPhone uses a fair bit of battery power, but I keep the screen off and the phone in my pocket. I am not sure it would last the distance on a long ride. My experience is that data is fairly good and fairly accurate... it is directly in Strava so now transfer is needed.

Hard to know why the data recording isn't working properly... Strava have a troubleshooting that could be worth looking at: https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/art ... at-Why-How

The Magellan is generally good - can take a time to get a GPS connection so the only issue is the process of getting data over into strava. An advantage is that the unit can be used to display data (speed) while you ride.

The Magellan usually has an easier time recognising Heart Rate Monitors but I have a bluetooth HRM that is recognised by Strava and automatically reads in.

Essentially you have two options and just need to work out the kinks. Some riding friend use the watches but of you already have devices, I don't see strong motivation to go for a watch.

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby macca33 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:58 am

Magellan have always been a tad flaky as far as their cycling computers go, but you should be able to get it to do what you require. Be sure you've uploaded their latest firmware to the device and that you're running their latest app or software on your computer/phone, for uplinking.

Formine, using the right equipment for the job is the best way, so, Cycling computer for cycling, GPS watch for running/swimming and mobile phone for talking, or app'ing...

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby PA » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:27 am

I have a Bryton Bike GPS and a Garmin Fenix Watch. The watch is easy to upload your data and having the Garmin Connect automatically sync with Strava makes it very easy to use.

There are a number of models of GPS around so make sure you buy one with enough battery power to do at least 50% more than your longest ride so as the battery storage reduces over time it will still do the time you need it to do.

I usually upload my rides via the PC by connecting the Fenix to it and the data automatically uploads, syncs and recharges the watch, ready to do it again tomorrow. It will sync via Blue Tooth also.
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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby Toyopet » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:33 pm

BigNath wrote:...... I am wondering why my iPhone app data is so incorrect, where I'm going wrong with my Magellan unit, and what we all think about smartwatches.

What are you guys n girls using and why?

Cheers in advance,
BN



Like you, I use both Magellan and phone. You haven't detailed your Magellan's problems, but I’ve had no problems with mine apart from the short battery life for longer rides. Despite this, I now prefer to use the phone app for all ride recording and uploading because it’s way more streamlined and simple…. less mucking about. So for me, it’s Magellan for navigation and phone app for ride recording/uploading.

That said, my iPhone battery life was becoming shorter and shorter, maybe because it wasn’t the latest phone and Apple was throttling its battery capacity with each iOS upgrade. So when I recently dropped my phone and broke it, I made the move to Android. Battery life for ride recording on the Android phone is much better than the iPhone ever was.

Your phone problems could be the gps sensors within the phone. There are numerous suggestions on the internet on how to improve/fix gps reception for iPhones.

I don’t have a smartwatch so can’t comment on a watch's suitability for recording/uploading rides.

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BigNath » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:04 pm

Thanks for the replies so far everyone, much appreciated.

With regards to my Magellan Cycle 505 issues, I'm wondering if there is a communication disconnect happening.

When I connect my 505 to my computer and load Cycloagent, the software gives a dialogue that the connected device is not linked to the account or words to that effect, but I have no idea on how to change this...there isn't a prompt on where to go to link it to my account. When I click on my name in orange in the top right corner of the window, there is no option regarding linking or connecting my device to my account.

Any ideas on what's going on here? Both my Cycloagent software, and Magellan 505 software are up to date according to the program...

I have a screenshot of the window that is giving me this message, but I'm not sure on how to insert an image into a post here.

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BigNath » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:05 pm

My computer is MacBook Pro running High Sierra, if that helps at all..

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BigNath » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:19 pm

Another thing I'm noticing is when I 'Wi-Fi Sync' my 505, it deletes the activity from my unit, even though in settings within Cycloagent, it is set to 'all uploaded history will be kept on the device'.

Is it possible I have a faulty unit causing these issues or can it be explained other ways?

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby mikgit » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:08 pm

It also depends on what or if you'll be doing anything else. If you will only be cycling then get a cycle compute like a garmin edge or a wahoo etc, they mount on you bike, you can see them easily. If you are going to do other stuff, running, hiking etc, then get a watch as you can wear it on your wrist or put it on the bar to see. Its just that for real time, they can be a bit hard to read (which may or maynot be an issue).
I'd also say instead of a fenix, a garmin 935 or 735, they are 99% of the equivalent fenix model, but $100's cheaper due to plastic (lighter) case.
I started with my phone mounted on the bars, but it was aweful, then had a Garmin F610 watch, better but couldn't read it, so mounted on the bars, then I got an edge 1000, way better (kept the 610 for running or back up on "important" rides), now I replaced that with a 645.
When I finish my ride (or run), hit stop and save and (so long as things arn't having the odd spaz) a few seconds later my ride/run appears in strava and my 645 will buzz to tell me it has arrived, couldn't be happier.
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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BigNath » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:23 pm

I completely agree with the concept of the dedicated unit for cycling - which is the only activity I will be using it for.
But I'm not sure why my Magellan isn't uploading and behaving the way it should be. I can get the data out of it by connecting it to my computer through Strava, but not the native magellan/mio software tools.
I don't want to have to use a cable all the time, hence using the iPhone app recently, but then using the iPhone is giving me incorrect distance and speed calculations. See first post for details on this...
I've pretty much given up on the idea of a watch, as I would like to have the information right in front of me as I ride, I just want a simple solution that works, and so far both the iPhone and Magellan are proving to have independent quirks from each other.

This is what is making me question if my Magellan is faulty, and if I replaced it with a Garmin would it be better...

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby bychosis » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:51 pm

I used an iphone for a long time, but mostly to record, not to navigate on. Setting it to record then putting it in a pocket/pack seems to last for plenty of time. I’ve done 6-7hrs recording with a full battery and had enough left over for a few calls etc. I had the odd ride that got a god glitch, but not many and the errors weren’t that hard to delete.

I had a Garmin 705 older bike computer and it worked fine, but was a pain to manually upload and also to switch between bikes (I regularly ride 4).

Last year I was given a Garmin forerunner watch when I started doing a bit of running and I haven’t found any reason to update the Garmin bike computer. I usually keep the watch on my wrist and it is no drama to check speed etc over a bar mount and is better than phone in pocket. I also like that it auto uploads to phone and then strava. The only thing the bike computer did better was distance when under trees doing switchbacks on MTB. The speed cadence sensor was more accurate, but not by much. Typically less than 1/2km out of 15-20.
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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby mikgit » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:43 pm

BigNath wrote:I completely agree with the concept of the dedicated unit for cycling - which is the only activity I will be using it for.
But I'm not sure why my Magellan isn't uploading and behaving the way it should be. I can get the data out of it by connecting it to my computer through Strava, but not the native magellan/mio software tools.
I don't want to have to use a cable all the time, hence using the iPhone app recently, but then using the iPhone is giving me incorrect distance and speed calculations. See first post for details on this...
I've pretty much given up on the idea of a watch, as I would like to have the information right in front of me as I ride, I just want a simple solution that works, and so far both the iPhone and Magellan are proving to have independent quirks from each other.

This is what is making me question if my Magellan is faulty, and if I replaced it with a Garmin would it be better...


No idea why you magellin isn't working, but I find for my edge, usually...usually it works fine. I just hit stop, save it and it appears in strava. The last week or so it's been a bit of a pain and wouldn't upload had to either restart it, or the phone...but then today it was fine and back to normal. I think it has issues...well the phone app not the 1000, for uploading since I got the 645 watch as I am usually wearing both and it seems to want to pick that up and push the 1000 aside, my old 610 didn't have bluetooth or wifi and my 620 i didn't wear much on the bike so I didn't have these issues...also the 1000 is getting 4 years old which was about the time my 610 started to go flaky, it's had a fair amount of use (and a lot of mud from the mtb lately) and I've been happy with it. But it's still fine 95% of the time.
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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby cyclotaur » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:07 pm

Data/GPS on the iPhone Strava app is flunky in my opinion. It way overstates ascent metres for example, and is not very accurate in short tight circuits, so if you are riding on MTB trails (for example) I doubt you’ll get much accurate info.

I’ve used a basic Garmin150 (since 2011) and now a Polar with HRM for the last 10 months for road rides and had no issues, besides riding with guys who use the Strava app and claim more ascent than me !! :evil: :lol:
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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby Toyopet » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:09 pm

BigNath wrote:Thanks for the replies so far everyone, much appreciated.

With regards to my Magellan Cycle 505 issues, I'm wondering if there is a communication disconnect happening.

When I connect my 505 to my computer and load Cycloagent, the software gives a dialogue that the connected device is not linked to the account or words to that effect, but I have no idea on how to change this...there isn't a prompt on where to go to link it to my account. When I click on my name in orange in the top right corner of the window, there is no option regarding linking or connecting my device to my account.

Any ideas on what's going on here? Both my Cycloagent software, and Magellan 505 software are up to date according to the program...

I have a screenshot of the window that is giving me this message, but I'm not sure on how to insert an image into a post here.

It sounds like your device might not be properly registered to you.

When you log into the CycloAgent app on your computer, click on the “Settings” tab and scroll down. Can you see your device’s serial number there? If no, you need to register it. If yes, maybe try to deregister, then re-register it.

(These Magellan specific questions and replies probably belong in the Magellan topic: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=74555 )

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BigNath » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:19 pm

The route I am doing the most, is along a flat bike track through the centre of my town (Mt Gambier).
No trees, no tall buildings, not even any really close buildings to bounce gps off of....just an old train line that has since been converted into a bike/walking track.

I have updated the Cycle 505 and will take it for a ride in a bit to see if I can get it to upload straight to Strava, otherwise I have to get the cable out, and manually drag it in through the Strava interface which is a P.I.T.A...

I wouldn't mind so much if the iPhone app was close, but doubling the distance or more, and multiplying the maximum speed by 10 seems excessive.

Here is a ride I did where you can see what I mean by the speed issue. The max speed in 'Overview' mode claims 211kph but in 'Analysis' mode it is just over 30kph... I don't understand how the data can be so far out in Strava depending on what screen it's on...

https://www.strava.com/activities/1770878255/overview

Is there a setting in Strava I'm not understanding with regards to setup?

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BigNath » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:25 pm

Toyopet wrote:It sounds like your device might not be properly registered to you.

When you log into the CycloAgent app on your computer, click on the “Settings” tab and scroll down. Can you see your device’s serial number there? If no, you need to register it. If yes, maybe try to deregister, then re-register it.

(These Magellan specific questions and replies probably belong in the Magellan topic: http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewt ... 34&t=74555 )


When I log in to Cycloagent app and click on the settings tab there is no mention of any device, nor any button/menu/link to do anything apart from change if the activity history is kept on the device after sync or deleted, or change the language. There is also a checkbox for synchronising tracks but absolutely no mention of devices, serial numbers, or any way to register or de-register.
I think you may be on to something, however I am not seeing anyway to change anything.

How do I insert a picture into a post? then I can show you what I'm seeing....

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby Toyopet » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:01 pm

Reply to above posted in the Magellan topic.
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=74555&p=1458771#p1458771

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby BugsBunny » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:16 pm

I've used a few different options:

1 - A dedicated Garmin head unit (e.g. Garmin 520);
2 - iPhone running Strava recording;
3 - Fitbit watch (which uses the iPhone for GPS data - the Fitbit doesn't have a GPS receiver).
4 - An old Garmin trail running watch with its own GPS receiver (Garmin Forerunner 205).

Option 1 seems to work best insofar as speed, distance and elevation accuracy.

Option 2 is accurate with speed and distance but elevation is way off the mark. I suspect that whilst the iPhone 7/8 etc have an accurate altimeter, Strava takes the elevation data from the route data on the segments traversed which I think is entirely out of whack with reality.

Option 3 is where I record my ride with a Fitbit watch, which in turn takes the GPS speed/distance/elevation data from the iPhone. At the end of the ride it will provide me with a summary and it looks to be entirely accurate. However, it then syncs my ride with Strava, and I think similar to option 2, it takes the elevation data from the routes/segments - which as mentioned is inaccurate.

Option 4 works fine wrt to speed/distance/elevation accuracy. Mine is a rather old tech GPS watch so the satellite locking will take 2-3 minutes whilst you stand completely still. If you just want to record your ride data, it will suffice. Do note that if you want to read the data fields whilst you ride, the screen is rather small and you may need to buy a mount to place it onto your handlebars.

In theory, your iPhone 7 should suffice for your needs and be accurate wrt to speed/distance/elevation. Be careful of using it in direct sunlight as the screen will be on 100% brightness which will use a lot of battery power and also potentially cause your phone to overheat and shut down temporarily.

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby RonK » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:03 pm

The Magellan Cyclo 505 suffered numerous issues most of which were never resolved. It is no longer supported by Magellan and they have stated that there will be no further updates.
The best thing you can do is bin it and get a Wahoo Elemnt as most of the former 505 owners have done.
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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby g-boaf » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:31 am

bychosis wrote:I used an iphone for a long time, but mostly to record, not to navigate on. Setting it to record then putting it in a pocket/pack seems to last for plenty of time. I’ve done 6-7hrs recording with a full battery and had enough left over for a few calls etc. I had the odd ride that got a god glitch, but not many and the errors weren’t that hard to delete.

I had a Garmin 705 older bike computer and it worked fine, but was a pain to manually upload and also to switch between bikes (I regularly ride 4).

Last year I was given a Garmin forerunner watch when I started doing a bit of running and I haven’t found any reason to update the Garmin bike computer. I usually keep the watch on my wrist and it is no drama to check speed etc over a bar mount and is better than phone in pocket. I also like that it auto uploads to phone and then strava. The only thing the bike computer did better was distance when under trees doing switchbacks on MTB. The speed cadence sensor was more accurate, but not by much. Typically less than 1/2km out of 15-20.



I manually upload rides with a Garmin 520 - I don't find it much of a pain to do. Just plug in the Garmin, open finder and go to the activities folder and drag and drop the rides into the browser window. Of course Strava is much worse, it doesn't allow anything that simple... Training Peaks is easy in that respect.

That said, I've had to do a reset on the 520 once already and I've not had it for that long. It simply refused to start and I hate the screen. In order to read it in bright sunshine, you've got to put it on 'night' mode. :roll:

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Re: Strava iPhone vs Bike GPS vs Smartwatch

Postby bychosis » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:59 am

I probably overstated the 'pain' of uploading, it wasn't that difficult jsut another step that I now don't need to do. I ended up carting the 705 in my pocket on a few rides, or strapping it to the bars with a silicone strap because I only had two mounts and kept changing bikes.

I also gave up on it when the mapping crashed and there was no real benefit to using the device instead of the phone.
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